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Thursday, July 31, 2014
Saskatchewan

PUTTING PATIENTS FIRST: SURGICAL SPECIALIST DIRECTORY AVAILABLE TO THE PUBLIC

Saskatchewan patients can now easily find information about surgeons practising in the province, procedures they perform and their wait times.

Health Minister Don McMorris unveiled an online "Specialist Directory" that helps patients work with their family doctors to choose the most appropriate surgeon.

The Specialist Directory is available at www.health.gov.sk.ca/specialist-directory

For the first time, it allows the public to see surgical wait times for each surgeon currently practising in the province. About 80 per cent of Saskatchewan surgeons also provided specific information about their practices, such as average wait times for a consultation and procedures they perform.

"This resource empowers people to actively participate with their family doctor in selecting their surgeon, and make more informed decisions about their care," McMorris said. "The directory shows patients which surgeons have the shortest wait times in their own health region or another region in Saskatchewan. It can also help avoid situations where people wait to see a specialist, only to find out the surgeon does not provide their particular procedure."

Patients still require a referral from a family physician to see a specialist.

"The Specialist Directory is an important resource when discussing treatment options with patients, as the information available makes it much easier to find an appropriate surgeon to refer patients to," Saskatchewan Medical Association Vice President and a family practice physician in Yorkton Dr. Phillip Fourie said. "Patients are leaving my office knowing how long they can expect to wait for their consult, which is very reassuring."

"This Specialist Directory is a great step forward," former surgical patient from Saskatoon who is involved with the Saskatchewan Surgical Initiative Doug Denk said. "It's another tool for reducing wait times for surgery and another way to put the patient first. As a patient representative I am very proud to be part of an initiative that is working, and in a short time is showing positive results."

Non-surgical specialists will be added to the directory in the future. Wait time information displayed for all surgeons is drawn from the Saskatchewan Surgical Registry, which tracks all surgeries performed in hospital operating rooms in the province.

The initiative is supported by the Saskatchewan Surgical Initiative (SkSI), the province's plan to transform the surgical patient experience and ensure that by 2014, no one has to wait more than three months for surgery. The SkSI is the first major project launched as a result of the Patient First Review.

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For more information, contact:

Karen Hill
Health
Regina
Phone: 306-787-4083

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