The Saskatchewan Surgical Initiative was created to put the patient first and provide medical care sooner, safer and smarter.

Jason Williams and Murray Jelinski, both recent Saskatoon surgical patients referred through the Saskatoon Spine Pathway, put it another way, “…it has changed (my) life for the better”.

Earlier this year, both Williams and Jelinski were initially referred to the Saskatoon Spine Pathway for lower back pain. The Spine Pathway is one of 17 surgical initiatives set out by the Province.

“The Spine Pathway ensured that I, a good candidate for surgery, got what I needed done quickly,” Williams explained. “I went from being in pain all the time and being very frustrated with dead-end referrals to a meeting with the Spine Pathway and a surgeon on the same day, and then surgery 10 days later. The difference in my life is incredible.”

Jelinski agrees, “What blew me away was the speed of it all. The Spine Pathway made things happen when I needed surgery and they have been great with the post operative follow up care to ensure I get the physiotherapy I need to recover.”

The Pathway is designed to assess patients so those most likely to benefit from surgery see a surgeon quickly. It also offers education, encouragement and other treatment options to help non-surgical patients manage their back pain.

Some of the other improvements being made by the various initiatives include:

Wait Time Targets – Two years ago, the province set wait time targets that have driven much of the work on the initiatives by the Regions. The goal is that by the end of March 2013, no patient will wait more than six months for the option to have surgery.

St. Paul’s Hospital Fourth Floor – Extensive renovation work began on the fourth floor B wing of St. Paul’s Hospital last September to create a new 18 bed surgical unit. Work has progressed on schedule and the new unit will open in summer 2012. The new unit will create capacity for additional urology, plastics and ENT inpatient surgery in the Region.

Surgical Safety Checklist – Saskatoon Health Region continues to excel with implementation of the Surgical Safety Checklist with consistent audits of over 95 per cent adherence to all three components of the checklist. The checklist was developed to enhance and standardize the communication and safety processes for all patients undergoing surgical procedures.

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