Wait times to see a specialist and for surgery
- February 18, 2019
- Posted by: olinsadmin
- Category: Health Care Ontario, Insurance Toronto, Medical Insurance Ontario
Understanding your wait time to see a specialist or get surgery can be complicated. Here is some helpful information.
When you can expect to wait
Let’s consider the situation when you can expect to wait
- Your family doctor refers you to a specialist.
- From referral to specialist appointment
- The number of days between your specialist getting the referral from your family doctor and your first appointment with the specialist
- You meet with the specialist.
- Tests and evaluation
- The time it takes for you to get any tests (e.g. blood, x-ray, MRI), if necessary, or have further consultation with the specialist before they decide if you need surgery.
- You and your specialist decide to go ahead with surgery.
- From the decision to surgery
- The number of days from when you and your specialist decide you will have surgery to actually having the surgery.
- You have surgery.
To help doctors and hospitals care for patients most in need first, doctors assign each patient a priority level of 1 to 4. For non-emergencies, priority 2 is the most urgent. (Priority 1 means emergency, so those patients are seen immediately and not included in this wait times data.)
Because priority levels are assigned based on specific criteria, you can be sure your wait time is appropriate for your condition.
How understanding the wait process helps you
Patients are put on a wait list when the number of people who need treatment is greater than the number of appointments, doctors or equipment available to provide that treatment. Understanding how wait times work in Ontario can help you in three key ways:
- Control. Estimating when the service you need will happen means you don’t have to put your life on hold.
- Awareness. Seeing how the wait time at your hospital compares to other Ontario hospitals means you can have a better-informed conversation with your family doctor about your options.
- Peace of mind. Understanding why you may need to wait can help put you at ease because your wait time will be appropriate for your condition.