News Release - November 4, 2010
HEALTH DELEGATION TO OBSERVE BRITISH SURGICAL INNOVATIONS
Saskatchewan is Examining New Ways to Improve Surgical Care for Patients
A group of health sector partners is going to the United Kingdom to learn firsthand about a series of initiatives that have helped the UK dramatically reduce surgical wait times.
The delegation includes physicians, nurses, health region representatives from Saskatoon, Regina and Prince Albert, the Health Quality Council, the Saskatchewan Medical Association and the Ministry of Health.
"To realize our goal of improving patient care, we have to look for resourceful ways to deliver health services," Health Minister Don McMorris said, who will accompany the group. "Britain has a proven track record of developing innovative solutions, and we have successfully adapted some of those to our health facilities. We're open to new ways of providing health care, whether we find those solutions close to home or in other countries."
A similar delegation travelled to the UK in 2008 to investigate a program called "Releasing Time to CareTM" (RTC). Since its inception in Saskatchewan, RTC has led to streamlined processes that free up more time for nurses to spend with patients. Based on that success, the delegation will examine additional options, including a program called "The Productive Operating Theatre", which improves operating room processes and could significantly help surgeons and OR teams.
"We need to look at new and innovative ways to organize and deliver care, if we are to meet expectations expressed by Saskatchewan people in the Patient First Review," physician leader for the Saskatchewan Surgical Initiative and Vice-Chair of the province's Health Quality Council Dr. Peter Barrett said. "Many hospital patients are already benefiting from the Releasing Time to Care program, which we adopted from the United Kingdom. We can build on this success, by learning how the British have improved the care experience for surgery patients."
The trip will support the Saskatchewan Surgical Initiative, which was launched in March 2010 and encompasses a wide variety of projects aimed at improving the surgical patient experience. Its goal is to reduce surgical wait times to a maximum of three months for all patients by 2014.
The delegation will spend five days touring health facilities in the United Kingdom and meeting with health system and physician leaders, after which decisions will be made on potential introduction of new programs and practises in Saskatchewan. The trip is being sponsored in part by the Health Quality Council.
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