The Prince Albert Parkland Health Region (PAPHR) is close to meeting their goal.
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“We are doing quite well in meeting the wait time goals in not waiting for surgery more than three months,” PAPHR communications officer Doug Dahl said.
Recent statistics from the Government of Saskatchewan show 79 per cent of patients in the province are getting surgery within a three-month window. Other health regions are having more trouble meeting the goal, including Saskatoon and Regina.
Since PAPHR is on track for meeting the March 2014 goal of having all surgeries completed within three months, other health regions, such as Saskatoon, are looking for help to take the pressure off their ER rooms.
“One of the things we are doing in the region is … looking to make sure we are maximizing our ER capacity,” Dahl said. “One of the areas we are looking at is the dental surgery.”
The Ministry of Health would like to see a fifth of the child dental surgeries moved to Prince Albert.
“We are having discussions with the Ministry of Health and that means we need to identify what equipment do we need so the dentists can do the surgeries at the hospital,” Dahl said. “We have met with the dentists in the community, including those who do surgery, and we are talking to them about what we need as well as a co-ordination approach.”
He noted they would also like to see that instead of patients being referred to Saskatoon, the surgeries could be done in Prince Albert.
“Not everybody does dental surgery but there are ones who are interested,” Dahl said.
Those who do dental surgeries are interested in doing more, he said, so they are looking into how to make it possible at the Victoria Hospital.
“We think it is really important from a provincial aspect the fact that we maximize capacity and as we move forward in working through the wait times for all surgeries,” Dahl said. “It does mean a number of our surgeons have short wait times, not just in the area of dental surgery but in others.”
The health region wants to see more referrals of all types of surgery, not just dental, to Prince Albert surgeons.
Many physicians and patients do not realize many surgeries can be done in Prince Albert instead of in Saskatoon. If more are in PAPHR, it will take more pressure off of the hospitals in Saskatoon and also eliminate other issues that bar people from getting to their appointment, such as poor road conditions or weather.
“Right now the provincial target they have is (for) everybody be able to be offered a surgery within three months by the end of March this year and we are tracking to meet that target,” Dahl said. “We need to look at when we do that, that means surgeries are getting done more quickly and there is an opportunity to utilize the ER space here for more surgeries.”