THUNDER BAY, ON ---- February 25, 2013 --- Cataract surgeries at Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre (TBRHSC) are postponed until the next fiscal year begins on April 1, 2013. As of February 20, 2013, 1,817 cataract surgeries have been performed at TBRHSC - 38 procedures more than the funded level.
Although the delay impacts access to care for patients, it is not expected to strongly affect wait times for cataract surgery. “Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre performs well above the provincial target of 182 days for cataract surgery wait times,” explains Lori Marshall, Acting Executive Vice President, Patient Care, Health Professions & Aboriginal Health at TBRHSC. “Due to the relatively short service disruption, it is anticipated that patients will continue to receive the surgery within our current average wait time of 66 days.”
The decision to defer additional procedures mitigates the impact to the health sciences centre budget. “As we strive to balance our responsibilities to provide quality healthcare and achieve a balanced budget, we are faced with difficult decisions,” Marshall says.
Previous provincial funding enabled TBRHSC to expand its cataract surgery program and run two dedicated operating rooms side-by-side with one ophthalmologist.
“It is always our goal to provide the right care, in the right place at the right time, and we look forward to resuming cataract surgeries as soon as our next fiscal year begins April 1,” Marshall says, adding that services will recommence earlier if additional funds become available.
TBRHSC receives its quotas and funding for cataract and other targeted wait times surgeries through a healthcare funding model of the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.