Healthcare wait times are are not humane

The Wait Time Alliance has added the Canadian Association of Paediatric Surgeons as its 14th member.
In order to improve wait times for Canada's children and youth, CAPS worked in collaboration with other sub-specialty paediatric surgeons from across the nation on the Canadian Paediatric Surgical Wait Times (CPSWT) Project to develop acceptable wait times for all surgical sub-specialties.

The CPSWT Project data shows that, on average, one third of paediatric patients received surgery past the acceptable wait times.

"The tragic reality is that children in Canada are waiting too long for surgery," said Dr. Jean-Martin Laberge, CAPS President. "Waiting for surgery prolongs suffering and creates anxiety for families. In addition, delays beyond critical times during a child's development may result in lifelong disability."

The common standards for wait times were developed by expert panels of over 100 paediatric surgeons from children's teaching hospitals across the country. They are consistent across Canada, making the data comparable and enabling participating hospitals to benchmark themselves with their peers.

In just over two years, this methodology has been implemented at 24 hospitals across eight jurisdictions. The resulting database contains mature wait time data and trends for 150,000 paediatric surgical cases from key facilities across Canada.

"With a relatively small investment, this project has determined the number of children waiting and the duration of the wait at participating hospitals," said Dr. James Wright, Project Co-Lead and Surgeon-in-Chief at The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. "The usefulness and quality of the data help many participating hospitals reduce wait times by active management of their wait lists and resources."

The CPSWT Project received the 2009 Gold Leadership Award by the Institute of Public Administration of Canada. The project, funded by Health Canada, won the award for its outstanding vision, innovation and collaboration, in pursuit of better outcomes for all Canadian children and youth.

"I'm pleased to welcome the Canadian Association of Paediatric Surgeons to the Wait Time Alliance," said Dr. Lorne Bellan, WTA Chair. "The growth in the WTA's membership is evidence of the consensus among physicians that governments must expand the benchmarking process beyond the five priority areas and deliver timely care to all Canadians."

The Wait Time Alliance was formed out of concern among Canada's doctors over delayed access to care for their patients, and an interest in working collaboratively with stakeholders to improve wait times. The WTA is comprised of 13 national medical specialty societies and the Canadian Medical Association, whose members are directly involved in providing care to patients.

For more information about the WTA, including a full list of benchmarks, please go to: