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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 services starting in December 2020 has contributed 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 March 31, 2021 (posted on May 26, 2021)

Between January 1 and March 31, 2021, there were 19,582 surgeries performed, with 78.8 per cent of patients receiving their surgery, or an offer of surgery, within three months and 89.7 per cent within six months.

Access to Surgery - Provincial
(January 01, 2021 to March 31, 2021)
Surgeries Performed or Offered Within Three Months 78.8%
Surgeries Performed or Offered Within Six Months 89.7%
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, 2021 March 31, 2021 Change Since 2010
Cases Waiting More Than Three Months 15,311 19,037 +24%
Cases Waiting More Than Six Months 9,877 12,450 +26%
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
  January 01, 2021 to March 31, 2021 On March 31, 2021
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 92.7% 92.7% 52 44
 Five Hills 86.5% 87.5% 109 103
 Cypress 86.8% 89.0% 138 125
 Regina Qu’Appelle 75.5% 76.0% 6,499 6,449
 Sunrise 91.8% 94.4% 58 23
 Saskatoon 74.8% 76.6% 10,916 9,906
 Heartland 73.3% 73.3% - -
 Kelsey Trail 85.6% 90.1% 14 9
 PA Parkland 76.0% 82.0% 651 523
 Prairie North 77.5% 84.1% 600 422
 Provincial 76.9% 78.8% 19,037 17,604
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 12,450 patients on wait list who had already waited six months on March 31, 2021.

Between January 01, 2021 and March 31, 2021, percentage of surgeries performed within six months:

  • Province-wide: 88.9 percent
  • Regina: 87.9 per cent
  • Saskatoon: 87.1 per cent
  • In the eight smallest health regions, percentages ranged from 90 to 97 per cent

There were a total of 32,666 patients waiting for surgery on March 31 2021 (including people waiting less than three months). This is an increase of 20 per cent (or 5,487 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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