Wait times for surgeries and emergency rooms … Ontario’s Wait Time Strategy was developed to improve access to 5 key health services by reducing wait times for cancer surgery, cardiac procedures, cataract surgery, hip and knee replacement and MRI and CT scans. The strategy has expanded to include all surgeries and time spent in emergency rooms

Table 7.3

Target (days)   Niagara Health Ontario Target   Niagara Health Ontario

Diagnostic Scans

Cancer Surgeries

28 MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) 69 109 84 Breast Cancer 41 35
28 CT (Computerized Tomography) 38 33 84 Gastrointestinal Cancers 40 40

Cataract Surgery

84 Genitourinary Cancers 43 63
182 121 118 84 Prostate Cancers 49 86

Joint Replacement

182 Hip Replacement 195 187 Source: Ministry of Health and Long Term Care Wait Times
182 Knee Replacement 221 211


Reporting the time patients spend in the ER is an important part of the Ontariogovernment’s commitment to reducing ER wait time. In Niagara, there are three levels of hospital services available to those requiring care: HighVolumeCommunityHospitals, MediumVolumeCommunityHospitalsand Urgent Care Centres. As of May 2011, all emergency rooms in Niagaraare above the provincial target and average for time spent in the ER for complex cases and Greater Niagara General had wait times that were under the targets for minor conditions, as defined by the Ministry of Health.  Douglas Memorial and Port Colborne Urgent Care Centres reported treatment times for patients which were lower than the target rates: Douglas Memorial 3.5 (complex) & 2.4 (minor); Port Colborne: 3.2 (complex) 2.5 (minor). Source: Ministry of Health and Long Term Care Wait Times


Table 7.4

Hospital Site

Total Time Spent in the ER (9 out of 10 patients

  Complex conditions/requiring more time for diagnosis, treatment or hospital bed admission (Hours) Ontario Average = 11.4 / Provincial Target = 8 Minor or uncomplicated conditions/requiring less time for diagnosis, treatment or observation (Hours) Ontario Average = 4.4 / Provincial Target = 4
Greater Niagara



St Catharines



Welland County



West Lincoln




Wait times for diagnostic imaging (MRIs and CT scans):

The Ontario government put a plan in place to increase access and reduce wait times for major health services. These services include: cancer surgery, cardiac procedures, cataract surgery, hip and knee replacements, general surgery, paediatric surgery and MRI and CT exams.Ontario’s plan has 4 goals:

  • To significantly increase the number of procedures to reduce the backlog that has developed over the last decade.
  • To invest in new, more efficient technology such as MRI machines and longer hours of operation.
  • To standardize best practices in medical and administrative functions to improve patient flow and efficiency.
  • To collect and report accurate and up-to-date wait time data for better decision making and accountability.

Reporting Ontario surgical, diagnostic wait times on the website is an important part of theOntariogovernment’s commitment to being open and accountable about how well we are doing in reducing wait times for key health services. It is an important tool to help hospitals monitor and manage the services they provide patients in these areas. Wait times have significantly lowered and improved in the province and in Niagara, although Niagara’s times are presently above the target times and the provincial times.

Figure 7.14   Wait time for diagnostics (MRI and CT) 2007-2011

Source: http://www.waittimes.net/SurgeryDI/EN/Data.aspx?View=1&Type=0&Modality=3&ModalityType=4,23,5,26&LHIN=&city=&pc=&dist=0&hosptID=664&str=W&period=0&expand=0

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