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Get the Next Available Appointment

Saskatchewan patients now have better access to some specialists. A new processes called Pooled Referrals can significantly reduce your wait time to see a specialist.

Many specialist in Saskatchewan are beginning to work together to pooled new patient referrals. When you choose the pooled referral option, you are assigned to the next available specialist within that group qualified to treat your condition. The specialist will notify the primary care provider who referred you within 10 days, confirming acceptance of your referral. Contact your family doctor’s office to find out the status of your referral.

While some specialists have very long wait times, others can have relatively short waits for appointments. Selecting pooled referrals improves your access to specialty care by assigning you to the specialist that can see you the soonest. This also helps to maximize the use of all the specialists within a particular group.

Let your primary care provider know if this option is right for you.

Groups that Pool Referrals

Regina
• CVT Associates (cardiovascular and thoracic)
• Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology - Regina Qu'Appelle Health Region
• Regina Spine Pathway Clinic
• Orthopedics

Saskatoon
• Urology Associates
• Saskatoon Spine Pathway Clinic
• Obstetrics and Gynecologic Consultants
• Thoracic Surgeons
• Gastroenterology
• Child Psychiatry
• Cardiology

Prince Albert
• Department of Orthopedics - Prince Albert Parkland Health Region
• Department of General Surgery
• Obstetrics/Gynecology

Moose Jaw
• Obstetrics/Gynecology

A Smart, Efficient Way to Improve Access and Choice

It's like shopping at a store where customers form a single line at the checkout. As cashiers become available, the entire line moves. No one is caught in the "slow line." This approach is already used in emergency departments, where you're seen by the next available doctor and with x-rays or CT scans, where they're read by the next available radiologist.

Pooled referrals has been well received by patients in those practices offering this referral option. You still have the option of choosing a specific surgeon, maybe because they've treated you before. That can result in a longer wait for an appointment if that specialist is particularly busy.

Groups participating in pooled referrals gather data about the number of patients their group sees, the types of conditions referred and the length of time each patient waits to be seen. This helps specialists continually improve how they deliver their services and allows the health system to better gauge the demand for different specialists and plan to ensure there are enough of the right kinds of specialists in Saskatchewan to meet the needs of our growing population.

Common Questions

Q - Is the pooled referral option right for me?
While some patients will want to wait to see a specific specialist, others simply want to get healthy as soon as possible. Pooling referrals now offers patients the ability to receive the next available appointment with a qualified specialist within a specific group. This can also reduce your wait time to treatment. The important thing to remember is that you now have a choice and that your health care provider is there to help with this decision.

Q - If I select the pooling option, how will I know if I'm being referred to the right specialist?
Specialty groups that pool their referrals do so because they are confident in the skills and abilities of their colleagues. These surgeons have made a decision to work as a team to efficiently provide their patients with high quality care. They will ensure you are seeing the appropriate specialist for your treatment.

Q - I trust the opinion of my family physician. Do pooled referrals eliminate their valuable input?
You are encouraged to speak to your family health care provider about your referral options. Involving your health care provider will ensure your decision not only reflects your interests but also includes their input and advice. Make a list of your questions and concerns and discuss them with your health care provider.

One of the benefits of referring health care providers is that they don't have to keep track of each specialist's sub-specialty interests, know about every new specialist in the community or determine whether a specialist has moved or retired. Pooled referrals ensure your referral consistently reaches the right specialist with the shortest wait time. It's a terrific resource for all family health care providers.

Q - I had a specialist I particularly liked for my right knee replacement. Can I go back to that specialist when it's time to replace my left knee?
Yes, the intent of pooled referrals is to increase patient choice. You can be referred to the specialist of your choice. Pooled referrals was developed to improve access to specialists and to ensure patients are seen by the appropriate specialist. When making a referral, your family doctor can recommend the next available specialist or the specialist you've seen in the past, but you could be in for a longer wait depending on the specialist you select. It's your choice.

Q - I'm planning a vacation. With pooled referrals, will I get bumped to the bottom of the list?
No, you'll be referred to the specialist with the next available opening. At that time, you can schedule your procedure for a date that doesn't conflict with your other plans.

Pooled referrals are supported by the Saskatchewan Medical Association, the Saskatchewan Registered Nurses Association, Saskatchewan's Senior Medical Officers and the Saskatchewan Surgical Initiative.

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