The Government of Yukon and the Yukon Hospital Corporation have developed a plan to reduce wait times for ophthalmology consultations and increase the number of cataract surgeries performed in Yukon.
The new plan, which comes into effect in January 2019, will reduce the wait time for ophthalmology consultation to four months before the end of the year while also maintaining wait time for surgery following consultation at four months or less. These wait times are in line with the Canadian benchmark.
The new plan will also more than double the number of cataract surgeries performed in the territory, from 240 to 520 in 2019 and increase cataract surgeries by 30 per cent from the current level in the year following.
Yukon’s changing demographics are increasing the demand for specialist services, especially by our visiting ophthalmologists. Our plan will drastically reduce wait times for cataract consultations and surgeries, and will also help us meet our goal of providing medical services here in Yukon whenever possible, rather than sending patients out of the territory. Addressing ophthalmology wait times is a priority as vision impairment due to cataracts has a significant impact on Yukoners’ quality of life.
Minister of Health and Social Services Pauline Frost
The Yukon Hospital Corporation is pleased to work together with the Department of Health and Social Services to address ophthalmology wait times. Our joint goal is to improve service through increased consultation and surgical days to improve access to care by significantly reducing the time from referral to surgery.
Yukon Hospital Corporation CEO Jason Bilsky
Currently, an ophthalmologist makes surgical visits to the territory eight times per year. There are two consultation days and three surgery days per visit.
Under the new plan, in 2019, a team of two ophthalmologists will visit Yukon eight times. Together, they will provide five consultation days and five surgery days each visit.
The one-time costs for these service improvements are estimated at $459,000.