ER wait times doubled in Saskatchewan: CIHI

New information shows Saskatchewan emergency room wait times have doubled since 2010, with patients waiting 3.4 hours before being assessed by a doctor, up from 1.7 hours in 2010.

The data was released Thursday by the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) and shows wait times for patients in Regina and Saskatoon.

“Obviously, this government is taking health care in the wrong direction,” said NDP Health critic Danielle Chartier. “It’s ignoring the basics and putting all time and money into its obsession with Lean, so things are getting worse instead of better. The NDP wants to see the focus on front-line care.”

Chartier said long emergency room waits are a symptom of problems and backlog throughout the hospital and health system, including seniors waiting in hospital for a long-term care bed.

The 3.4-hour figure excludes the 10 per cent of patients who wait even longer. Other health regions didn’t report emergency room wait times for this reporting tool.

Other statistics revealed by CIHI Thursday include all Saskatchewan health regions and point to deeply troubling conditions throughout the system.

  • Saskatchewan has the worst rate of all provinces for people who need to be hospitalized for conditions that can be prevented by proper ambulatory care at 435 of 100,000.

  • Saskatchewan had the highest provincial rates for avoidable deaths (215 per 100,000 compared to the national average of 171); as well as avoidable deaths from preventable causes (141 per 100,000, compared to the national average of 111); and avoidable deaths from treatable causes (74 for 100,000 compared to the national average of 60).

  • Among all provinces, Saskatchewan has Canada’s highest readmission rate at 9.7 per cent for all obstetric, surgical, and medical patients going back to hospital within 30 days of discharge, as well as for returning patients age 19 or younger.