Dr. Michael Ott. Photo provided by London Health Sciences Centre.Dr. Michael Ott. Photo provided by London Health Sciences Centre.

LHSC cuts cancer surgery wait times by 50 per cent

Cancer surgery wait times at Southwestern Ontario's largest hospital have been cut in half.

Over the past year, London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) has worked to reduce the surgery wait times for non-urgent and non-emergent cancer patients by 50 per cent, according to the hospital's head of oncology.

"We know how hard it is for patients with cancer and their families to wait for surgery and we needed to do everything we could to improve our times,” said Dr. Michael Ott. “This involved finding new ways to maximize our current resources and improve efficiencies – like improving our referral systems, optimizing our data used in making decisions, and dedicating more operating room time for cancer surgeries.”

Ott added the results of the efforts are clear with 90 per cent of oncology patients at the Verspeeten Family Cancer Centre at LHSC’s Victoria Hospital now receiving surgery within the targeted wait time according to the urgency of their diagnosis.

“We won’t settle until every patient gets care within the appropriate target wait time, and we continue to improve,” said Ott.

The Verspeeten Family Cancer Centre provides comprehensive cancer services to approximately 1.8 million people in southwestern Ontario. That includes inpatient and outpatient cancer care, such as surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy, as well as a full range of support services.

While patients identified as high priority have largely been seen within the recommended surgical wait time, LHSC said, the reduction is even more impactful for lower-priority patients who are more likely to encounter extended waits across the health-care system.

"These improvements reflect our commitment to providing timely and efficient care to a growing number of patients across southwestern Ontario,” said Dr. Kevin Chan, the hospital's corporate medical executive.

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