The Prairie North Health Region will be receiving about $2.7 million from the provincial government to reduce surgical wait times.
The money will be spent on additional staffing positions in the operating rooms and outpatient-day surgery, provide for the purchase of a sterilizer in central supply and redistribution and help pay for the relocation of the intensive care unit. Each of these investments is aimed at reducing surgical wait times.
The $2.7 million the Prairie North Health Region received is a part of the $60.5 million in additional funding for the Saskatchewan Surgical Initiative announced in the provincial budget. According to the provincial government, the money will help the health regions around the province complete an additional 4,380 surgeries in 2012-13.
The province has often touted its accomplishments in reducing surgical wait times. Since April 2010, when the Saskatchewan Surgical Initiative began, the number of patients waiting over 18 months has dropped by 85 per cent, the number waiting 12 months for surgery has dropped 74 per cent and the number waiting six months have dropped 53 per cent.
The Prairie North Health Region has also had an excellent surgical wait time record. Despite being the third-largest health region in the province, a six-month study that ended January 2012 had PNHR as one of the most efficient health regions for surgery. Ninety-four per cent of patients had surgery performed within three months, 80 per cent had surgery performed within six weeks and 60 per cent had surgery performed within three weeks. The PNHR is exceeding the Surgical Initiative’s second-year target of having no patients wait more than 12 months for surgery.
By 2013, it is hoped that all patients will receive surgery within six months, a goal that the health region has already all but completed.
Battlefords MLA Herb Cox praised the initiative and the PNHR on behalf of Health Minister Don McMorris.
“Sooner, safer, smarter surgical care is a high priority for our government. PNHR is a key partner in providing exception al services to patients and helping achieve our ambitious wait time goals.”
For more information on the Saskatchewan Surgical Initiative, visit www.health.gov.sk.ca/surgical-initiative.