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NEWS RELEASE · 24th March 2010
Ministry of Health services
British Columbia continues to lead the way when it comes to provinces meeting wait time benchmarks across Canada.

According to the report 'Wait Times Tables - A Comparison by Province, 2010' released today by the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI), B.C. leads Canada in exceeding the benchmarks for all priority areas: cancer treatment, cardiac care, sight restoration, and joint replacement.

"I am proud of the fact that B.C. has once again been independently recognized as a leader in reducing wait times," said Health Services Minister Kevin Falcon. "These results clearly show that our wait time strategy is working, improving surgical access even as health service demands continue to grow."

Today's CIHI release reinforces the 2009 Wait Time Alliance report, in which only B.C. and Ontario received an A in every category - radiology hip, knees, cardiac and sight, when it came to meeting wait time benchmarks. These reports clearly show the significant progress B.C. has made in improving access and reducing wait times.

"I am very pleased with the progress we have made in reducing wait times, which is a credit to our front-line health providers," said Falcon. "I am confident that we will continue to improve our wait times through innovation and patient-focused funding, and continue to lead the country in the reduction of wait times."

Projects that have brought about key successes include:

* Emergency department streaming, where fast-tracks are included in emergency departments to reduce waiting times.
* iCare, where collaborative, team-based approaches are reducing the length of stay at departments in hospitals across the province.
* The Distal Extremities Surgical Project at St. Paul's Hospital, which is lowering referral waits and increasing the number of distal orthopaedic surgeries, i.e. hands and feet.

B.C. has made tremendous gains in improving access to surgeries. Since 2001, the Province has significantly reduced median waits in key areas:

* Median waits for open heart surgery have fallen from 15.1 to 6.9 weeks.
* Hip replacement waits have been reduced from 18.7 weeks to 10.1 weeks.
* The wait for knee replacements has almost been cut in half from 25.4 weeks to 13.1 weeks.