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Improved Access to Surgical Care - Progress Update

The COVID-related disruption of surgical services in April, May and June of 2020 resulted in an increase in the total number of patients waiting for surgery, as well as the number of patients waiting over three and six months for their procedures. While summer and fall saw an increase in the number of surgeries performed, further COVID-related slowdown in surgical service starting in December 2020 will contribute to growth in the surgical backlog.

The Ministry of Health and the Saskatchewan Health Authority are working on short term strategies to address surgical backlogs related to COVID, as well as longer term strategies to adjust surgical capacity to meet current demand.

Results as of December 31, 2020 (posted on March 4, 2020)

Between October 01, 2020 and December 31, 2020, there were 21,141 surgeries performed, with 74.9 per cent of patients receiving their surgery, or an offer of surgery, within three months and 83.8 per cent within six months.

Access to Surgery - Provincial
(October 1, 2020 to December 31, 2020)
Surgeries Performed or Offered Within Three Months 74.9%
Surgeries Performed or Offered Within Six Months 83.8%
Percentage calculated over the time period. A small number of patients were offered surgery within three months, but opted for a later date.

Number of Patients Waiting
(Change Since March 2010)


Mar. 31, 2010 December 31, 2020 Change Since 2010
Cases Waiting More Than Three Months 15,311 16,832 +10%
Cases Waiting More Than Six Months 9,877 11,157 +13%
A patient waiting for two or more surgeries is counted as two or more cases.

In addition to reporting the wait time from when surgery was booked to when surgery was provided, we also report the wait time from the booking date to the date the patient could have received surgery, since some patients choose to wait longer than the earliest date offered to them.

Access to Surgery, by Former Health Region
  October 01, 2020 to December 31, 2020 On December 31, 2020
Former Health Region
(South East to
North West)
Surgeries Performed Within Three Months Surgeries Performed or Offered Within Three Months Patients Waiting More Than Three Months Patients Waiting: No Offer of Surgery Within Three Months
 Sun Country 84.7% 85.8% 74 66
 Five Hills 92.5% 93.3% 128 118
 Cypress 72.6% 74.9% 157 148
 Regina Qu’Appelle 68.0% 68.4% 5,290 5,246
 Sunrise 84.3% 84.7% 67 47
 Saskatoon 72.4% 74.3% 10,032 9,085
 Heartland 100.0% 100.0% 0 0
 Kelsey Trail 80.0% 84.0% 61 43
 PA Parkland 77.6% 80.0% 617 519
 Prairie North 83.5% 87.2% 406 279
 Provincial 73.4% 74.9% 16,832 15,551
The percentage reflects wait times for surgeries over the time period. “Patients Waiting” counts the number of cases on that date in which a patient hasn’t had surgery yet and has waited longer than three months. Location reflects health region in which the surgery took place, not the patients' place of residence.

There were 11,157 patients on wait list who had already waited six months on December 31, 2020.

Between October 1, 2020 and December 31, 2020, percentage of surgeries performed within six months:

  • Province-wide: 82.1 percent
  • Regina: 78.6 per cent
  • Saskatoon: 81.3 per cent
  • In the eight smallest health regions, percentages ranged from 75 to 100 per cent

There were a total of 29,650 patients waiting for surgery on December 31 2020 (including people waiting less than three months). This is an increase of 9 per cent (or 2,471 more cases waiting) since March 2010.

The four-year Saskatchewan Surgical Initiative concluded in March 2014, after making significant improvements that resulted in sooner, safer, smarter surgical care.

Related information

For more wait times statistics, click on the Surgical System Performance link in the left menu.

 See left menu for more about the Surgical Initiative.

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