REALITY CHECK: While the Sask. Party denies the facts, wait times are getting worse

The Sask. Party’s own government numbers show that the wait times for specialists and surgeries in Saskatchewan are still getting longer. Not wanting the facts to get in the way of a good story, the Sask. Party chose to cite the Fraser Institute today in a government press release that contradicts what government experts know to be true. 

The Minister of Health has access to all of the statistics and facts about what’s really happening in Saskatchewan’s hospitals. He also knows that the Fraser Institute’s methodology is so flawed that one health policy analysts called it “an abomination.” Still, this isn’t the first time that the Sask. Party has tried to use this annual report to fight against reality and it isn’t the first time they’ve been called out for being wrong.

Today, in an apparent hope we’d forget they tried this just a year ago, the Minister said, “our government is proud of the successes the health system has achieved in improving access to surgery.”

Well, given the facts (see the chart below), that means they are proud of wait times for specialists getting longer across the board in the last year, with many seeing an increase of over 20 and even 30 per cent.

It would also mean the Sask. Party is proud that, in the last two and a half years, they’ve let the number of people waiting three months or longer for surgery to go from just over 1700 to well over 9000 and to let the number of people waiting more than six months to skyrocket from 443 to 4397.

We know how out of touch the Sask. Party is and we understand how desperate they are to try to spin out some good news, but the reality is, Saskatchewan families have to wait longer to see a specialist and the Sask. Party government is failing them.

They need to spend less time cutting our health care and spinning lines and more time getting to work helping Saskatchewan people get the care they need when they need it.

Here are the numbers we got directly from the Saskatchewan Ministry of Health, outlining the average wait times for to meet with a specialist in 2015-16 and 2016-17:

Specialty

Average Wait (Days) 2015-16

Average Wait (Days) 2016-17

Percent Change

Nephrology

205

250

22

Neurosurgery

182

224

23.1

Respirology

179

212

18.4

Cardiology

176

211

19.9

Physical Med.

175

206

17.7

Gastroenterology

171

204

19.3

Internal Medicine

166

204

22.9

Plastic Surgery

159

203

27.7

Endocrinology

156

178

14.1

Neurology

145

177

22.1

Rheumatology

143

176

23.1

Psychiatry

138

162

17.4

Urological Surgery

134

154

14.9

Orthopaedic Surgery

132

151

14.4

Ophthalmology

117

147

25.6

Ob/Gyn

113

137

21.2

Otolaryngology

109

120

10.1

General Surgery

105

125

19

Dermatology

104

131

24.8

Pediatrics

94

104

10.6