SURGERY

The Hamilton Spectator - - LOCAL - jfr­ketich@thes­pec.com 905-526-3349 | @Jfr­ketich

THE BEST RE­SULTS

Joseph Brant’s wait for hip re­place­ment surgery was half On­tario’s av­er­age in May.

It takes 70 days on av­er­age to get hip re­place­ment surgery in Burling­ton. All pa­tients got their op­er­a­tion at Joseph Brant within the pro­vin­cial tar­get.

The wait was longer for knee surgery at 91 days on av­er­age, but still well be­low the pro­vin­cial av­er­age of 120 days.

HHS had the low­est lum­bar and cer­vi­cal disc surgery wait times in the prov­ince last fis­cal year.

It took 36 days on av­er­age to get the back surgery at HHS com­pared to On­tario’s 138 days. The neck surgery is done even faster at 27 days com­pared to the prov­ince’s 95 days.

De­spite the bet­ter-than-av­er­age times, only about 60 per cent of pa­tients got their surgery within the prov­ince’s tar­get at HHS.

While waits are high to get hip and knee re­place­ments at HHS, it is fast to get the first ap­point­ment with the spe­cial­ist. All HHS pa­tients saw the sur­geon for the first time within On­tario’s tar­get.

The op­po­site is true for fore­foot surgery at HHS. There is a bot­tle­neck to get the first ap­point­ment, but waits are lower than av­er­age for surgery.

Both HHS and Joseph Brant have low waits for knee arthroscopy.

Eye surgery THE BOT­TOM LINE

Pa­tients wait a long time for a first ap­point­ment with a cataract sur­geon in Hamil­ton and Burling­ton.

THE WORST RE­SULTS

It took too long to get cataract surgery at Joseph Brant Hospi­tal.

As of May, pa­tients waited an av­er­age of 188 days. It was above On­tario’s tar­get of 182 days and the pro­vin­cial av­er­age of 94 days.

In to­tal, just over half of Burling­ton pa­tients got their surgery within the prov­ince’s tar­get time, com­pared with On­tario’s av­er­age of 84 per cent.

The wait for a first ap­point­ment with the sur­geon was also high.

It took 125 days on av­er­age at St. Joseph’s Health­care and 104 days at Joseph Brant to see the sur­geon. On­tario’s av­er­age is 76 days.

At St. Joseph’s, one in four pa­tients didn’t get the first ap­point­ment within the prov­ince’s tar­get times. The pro­vin­cial av­er­age is one in 10.

THE BEST RE­SULTS

Waits for cataract surgery were half the pro­vin­cial av­er­age at St. Joseph’s.

While there is a bot­tle­neck to get the first ap­point­ment, the process moves much more quickly once a de­ci­sion is made.

Pa­tients waited 42 days on av­er­age for the ac­tual surgery, com­pared to On­tario’s av­er­age of 94 in May.

Surgery wait times were also low for cornea transplants and glau­coma at St. Joseph’s. More than 90 per cent of glau­coma pa­tients got their surgery within the tar­get at St. Joseph’s, com­pared to On­tario’s av­er­age of 79 per cent.

Pa­tients also got first ap­point­ments with a sur­geon quickly for vit­rec­tomy to im­prove vi­sion for a num­ber of eye con­di­tions. All pa­tients were seen within pro­vin­cial tar­gets in May.

Heart surgery THE BOT­TOM LINE

Waits for heart surgery in Hamil­ton were low.

THE WORST RE­SULTS

There are no be­low-av­er­age re­sults.

THE BEST RE­SULTS

Hamil­ton Health Sciences had sig­nif­i­cantly lower-than-av­er­age wait times in May for surg­eries that im­prove blood flow to the heart.

Pa­tients waited just un­der four days for an­gio­plasty at HHS, once the de­ci­sion to have the pro­ce­dure was made. The pro­vin­cial av­er­age was nearly 11 days and the tar­get is 28 days.

By­pass surgery is equally im­pres­sive, with pa­tients wait­ing just over 14 days com­pared to On­tario’s av­er­age of about 27 days.

Can­cer surgery THE BOT­TOM LINE

Hamil­ton and Burling­ton hos­pi­tals are well within pro­vin­cial tar­gets for can­cer surgery waits, with two ex­cep­tions.

Thy­roid and en­docrine can­cer pa­tients waited too long for a first ap­point­ment with a sur­geon at St. Joseph’s Health­care be­tween Jan­uary and March.

Prostate can­cer pa­tients waited al­most dou­ble the rec­om­mended time on av­er­age, get­ting their first ap­point­ment with the sur­geon at St. Joseph’s at 67 days, in­stead of 36.

The wait for prostate can­cer pa­tients is likely due to the pop­u­lar­ity of the ro­botic sur­gi­cal sys­tem used at St. Joseph’s for the vast ma­jor­ity of rad­i­cal prosta­te­c­tomies.

Once pa­tients have that ini­tial ap­point­ment, they get their surgery within the tar­get for both types of can­cers.

THE WORST RE­SULTS

Prostate can­cer surgery at St. Joseph’s had the worst wait in the prov­ince from Jan­uary to March. A group of men waited an av­er­age of 69 days for surgery, com­pared to the pro­vin­cial av­er­age of 51 days. How­ever, it was still within the prov­ince’s 84-day tar­get.

Also of note is that St. Joseph’s had the sec­ond-high­est wait in the prov­ince for gen­i­touri­nary can­cer surgery in May. Pa­tients with the can­cer re­lated to the gen­i­tal and uri­nary or­gans waited nearly dou­ble the pro­vin­cial av­er­age of 37 days.

St. Joseph’s also had higher-thanaver­age surgery waits for thy­roid, en­docrine and breast can­cer pa­tients.

In fact, breast can­cer pa­tients waited longer at all area hos­pi­tals from Jan­uary to March. HHS and Joseph Brant had higher-thanaver­age waits to get a first ap­point­ment as well as the op­er­a­tion it­self.

In Burling­ton, nearly one in three women did not get a first ap­point­ment with the sur­geon within On­tario’s tar­get. The pro­vin­cial av­er­age is fewer than one in 10.

Joseph Brant also had longer waits for gen­i­touri­nary can­cer pa­tients to see a sur­geon and for prostate can­cer pa­tients to get surgery.

HHS had higher-than-av­er­age waits for neu­ro­log­i­cal can­cer pa­tients.

THE BEST RE­SULTS

St. Joseph’s had no wait time at all for lung can­cer pa­tients to see a sur­geon. The stun­ning re­sult from Jan­uary to March com­pared to On­tario’s av­er­age of eight days.

It took a mere five days on av­er­age for a group of gen­i­touri­nary pa­tients to see a sur­geon at HHS, which was the best in the prov­ince. On­tario’s av­er­age is 26 days.

For all gen­i­touri­nary pa­tients at HHS, 100 per cent got their surgery within On­tario’s tar­get. Joseph Brant was also bet­ter than av­er­age at meet­ing On­tario tar­gets for gen­i­touri­nary can­cer surgery.

HHS tied Lon­don Health Sciences for hav­ing gy­ne­co­log­i­cal pa­tients seen within 10 days of be­ing re­ferred to a sur­geon, which was best in the prov­ince.

Both HHS and St. Joseph’s have fast wait times for gas­troin­testi­nal can­cer pa­tients; while St. Joseph’s is also bet­ter than av­er­age for head and neck can­cer surgery waits.

Hamil­ton and Burling­ton hos­pi­tals are well within pro­vin­cial tar­gets for can­cer surgery waits, with two ex­cep­tions.

HAMIL­TON SPEC­TA­TOR FILE PHOTO

Joseph Brant, in Burling­ton, added nine op­er­at­ing rooms, which are twice the square footage of the for­mer ones in the north wing, to try to meet de­mands.

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