N.S. Health Authority aims to adopt AG recommendations, reduce surgery wait times

Thu, Apr 5: Despite lagging behind on completing recommendations from the Auditor General's 2014-2015 report the Nova Scotia Health Authority say it's expecting to make substantial progress in the near future. As Jeremy Keefe reports, the NSHA says they'll be improving wait times for hip and knee surgery in the coming months.

The lacklustre results of the Nova Scotia Health Authority (NSHA) in the auditor general’s review of his 2014-2015 report are said to be a matter of timing and a complex situation rather than an unwillingness to adopt the recommendations.

With only two out of seven of the recommendations completed, the NSHA was lagging far behind in the recently released review which showed 75 per cent overall compliance across 26 organizations.

When it came to addressing wait times for hip and knee surgeries, however, the NSHA sat at a meagre 44 per cent completion.

READ MORE: Nova Scotia still far behind in wait times for hip, knee surgeries: auditor

Vice-president of Integrated Services Tim Guest says the reason for falling behind is due to a number of outside factors.

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“When the auditor general did that review in 2014, we were nine separate organizations and they only audited two,” he explained. “That really looked at a small percentage of our operation and so we’ve really been looking at the entire system and all 17 ORs so it’s much more complicated.”

Wait times for hip and knee surgeries in Nova Scotia can, on average, take a year-and-a-half, while six months is the national benchmark.

WATCH: Nova Scotia unlikely to meet orthopedic health-care goals made six months ago

Nova Scotia unlikely to meet Orthopedic health care goals made six months ago
Nova Scotia unlikely to meet Orthopedic health care goals made six months ago

Guest estimates that going from the failing grade to completion is coming in the very near future, now that the NSHA can better concentrate on making those improvements.

“We’ve started to set provincial performance measures and have our data more in a provincial context,” he said. “I think we’re getting really close, we’ve made really good headway this year in starting to get processes in place.”

“We’re not talking another year from now. I think we’re talking a number of months,” Guest said.

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“We’ve got patient advisers embedded in our committee structures,” he explained of new measures they’ve employed to address the challenges. “That advice and input will be really helpful in finishing that journey and so it’s our goal to be fully compliant with the rest of those recommendations very soon.”

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