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Wait times

NB website will provide info on surgical access

FREDERICTON – The New Brunswick Surgical Care Network website was launched in February by Health and Wellness Minister Elvy Robichaud (pictured at left).

“This website has been developed to provide a greater understanding of surgical wait times,” Robichaud said. “The information it contains will help New Brunswickers better appreciate the complexity of this issue, and to make informed decisions about their own care.”

Information on the site can be found at It includes:

• types of surgery performed in New Brunswick, by hospital
• specialists who offer surgery in New Brunswick
• questions to ask your surgeon
• frequently asked questions and answers on wait-time management
• wait times for various types of surgeries, by hospital

“The development of this website is one of the steps on the journey to improving surgical access for New Brunswickers, as promised in the Provincial Health Plan, Healthy Futures,” Robichaud said.

“New Brunswickers deserve to receive health services in a timely manner, and I assure them that the government has and will continue to work to provide access to quality healthcare, including surgical access.”

The province’s surgical access management strategy will involve implementation of a series of initiatives to improve access and reduce waiting times. These include development of a computerized registry of all patients awaiting surgery in New Brunswick, from the time they have met with their surgeon and agreed to have surgery, until they booked into the system.

“Having this data will provide the necessary tools for managing and monitoring access to surgery on a provincial basis, as well as for each hospital,” Robichaud said.

The provincial surgical patient registry will be operational in 2007.

“We will also establish a standardized patient assessment process in each surgical specialty, using objective criteria,” Robichaud said. “This will provide a consistent assessment process across the province, and will be completed by the surgeon and the patient.”

The assessment process will be developed in co-operation with surgeons in each specialty area, and will focus on issues such as pain intensity, type and frequency of symptoms, and the impact of the condition on the patient’s daily activities. The assessment tools will be tested and validated by the surgeons, and will be ready for implementation once the registry is operational.

Robichaud said the department will also establish target times for surgery, based on the patient’s condition. This will be done in co-operation with surgeons in each specialty area.

“These ratings will help determine the priority rating for surgery, and will ensure that patients with the highest priority have the shortest waiting time,” Robichaud said. “Target times within which surgery should be done will be developed for each priority rating, and the goal will be for all patients to receive care within generally accepted wait times.”

The surgical target times will be ready for implementation once the provincial surgical patient registry is operational, in 2007.

Robichaud also announced two additional initiatives related to improving surgical access. Access managers will be hired in each Regional Health Authority in 2006 to address concerns and provide information to New Brunswickers who are waiting for surgery. They will also work with the region’s surgical team and senior management to improve surgical access.

“Finally, this fiscal year we will begin operational reviews at 17 surgical sites, with the goal to identify areas where we can improve efficiencies,” Robichaud said. “The operational review will involve looking at processes from pre-surgical screening through to the post-operative period, and will provide comparable information for each surgical site, which is not now available.”