Measuring Manitoba's Progress on Wait Times

Welcome to Manitoba's dashboard for measuring wait times for surgical and diagnostic services.

The effect of COVID-19 on our health care system was profound. Many surgeries and diagnostic services were delayed as we focused on the pandemic response, which meant people were waiting longer for important health care services. We are finding new solutions – in the long and short term, inside and outside of Manitoba – to connect people with their surgical and diagnostic services. 

This tool helps track the progress made in addressing surgical and diagnostic wait times. It includes:

  • wait times, which shows the median number of weeks patients waited for a scheduled procedure.
  • patients waiting, which shows the total number of patients who have been placed on a wait list, and
  • completed cases, which shows how many patients have received their diagnostic or surgical service, as well as the progress made in addressing the pandemic backlog (where available).
How to use the dashboard

Under each section, graphs break down the information by year, month or facility (where a service is available at more than one location). On the left, drop down menus allow you to select which information is shown, including the facility, region, year, or month.

Hovering over the chart will display more information about that data point. You can also click on the icon in the top right corner of each chart to expand it to full-screen.

Please ensure your browser pop-ups are enabled on this page.


More information about the dashboard
  • Wait times only include people who are waiting for scheduled services. Patients who require emergency diagnostic or surgical services are not placed on a wait list. 
  • Wait times for surgical services are measured using retrospective median wait times. Beginning in April 2021, the methodology for calculating the monthly wait time for four of the five diagnostic services (bone density, CT scan, MRI, and ultrasound) was updated to also use the retrospective median wait time. Before then, these wait times were estimated based on the next available slot on the schedule. It is important to note that wait times calculated using these two different methodologies are not comparable. Myocardial perfusion wait times continue to be estimated based on the expected next available dates in the schedule, but will be changed to be consistent with the other services as soon as this information is available.
  • Wait times can vary significantly among various sites that offer a specific surgical or diagnostic service. It is important to note that a wait time calculation based on a very small number of patients over a very short period of time can be misleading, since a few patients with unusually long or short wait times may have a significant influence on the results for that month, particularly the average wait time. In this situation, a hospital might have a single month with a very long average wait time while the usual wait times are much shorter, and the experience for most patients will be unchanged. This will particularly affect facilities that provide services to a smaller number of patients, or in larger facilities that perform very specialized procedures.
  • An additional tab under cardiac wait times provides additional information about how the level of care and urgency required affects wait times. They are:
    • Emergent and urgent: These are critically ill, medically unstable patients, who cannot be discharged from hospital prior to receiving care.
    • Semi-urgent: These are patients with significant heart health problems. They may be doing poorly on medication and/or may have pain with minor exercise. These patients are not critically ill but waiting too long could result in a deterioration in their health status.
    • Elective: These are patients who are stable but have some form of heart health problem. Their procedure may be scheduled after a wait time without undue deterioration in their health status.
  • The pandemic backlog data demonstrates where the pandemic backlog stands each month, with a blue line. The backlog refers to the surgical and diagnostic cases that were added to wait lists due to the impacts of COVID-19.
    • The pandemic backlog data for orthopedic hip surgeries and orthopedic knee surgeries are combined.
  • The data in the dashboard is only available for services performed in Manitoba at the sites identified here. This means:
    • Out of province services are not included. However, there are a number of agreements in place to help connect people with care outside of the province to help reduce the backlog.  Additional updates about this work, including the number of services completed, is here.
    • Most additional services that are being contracted through request for supply arrangement (RFSA) with private and public care providers in Manitoba are not included in this dashboard. For information on these services, click here.
  • For previous years (2019, 2020 and 2021), data is provided for the entire year, but 2022 is year-to-date. For an accurate comparison across years, you may need to select specific months from the left-hand menu.
  • Not all sites or regions provide all services, so that will change depending on the data selected. Due to the size of the charts and number of sites, some shortened names are used. Proper names of all facilities included in the dashboard are listed here.

    Name as it appears on Dashboard

    Official name

    WRHA

    Winnipeg Regional Health Authority

    Brandon GH

    Brandon Regional Health Centre

    Minnedosa Hospital

    Minnedosa Health Centre

    Portage Hospital

    Portage District General Hospital

    Swan Valley HC

    Swan Valley Health Centre

    St. Boniface GH

    St. Boniface Hospital

    Bethesda Regional HC

    Bethesda Regional Health Centre

    Boundary Trails HC

    Boundary Trails Health Centre

    Dauphin GH

    Dauphin Regional Health Centre

    HSC

    Health Sciences Centre

    HSC Children’s

    Health Sciences Centre Children’s

    Misericordia HC

    Misericordia Health Centre

    Selkirk Regional HC

    Selkirk Regional Health Centre

    Seven Oaks GH

    Seven Oaks General Hospital

    Thompson GH

    Thompson General Hospital

    Victoria GH

    Victoria General Hospital

    Neepawa District Memorial Hospital

    Neepawa Health Centre (Memorial Hospital) 

    Arborg and district HC

    Arborg and Districts Health Centre

    Flin Flon GH

    Flin Flon General Hospital

    Russell HC

    Russell Health Centre

Resources/FAQs

This dashboard provides information about five diagnostic services and four surgical services. The dashboard will be expanded over time with additional information in future phases.

Health authorities are required to report wait time data for services funded by Manitoba Health. Information is collected from physicians and from operating room or scheduling systems. This information is verified by health authorities before being sent to Manitoba Health.

Data is being updated regularly. It has to be collected and verified before being posted, so the dashboard does not provide real-time information.

A wait list is a list of people who are waiting for a special medical or diagnostic service. They are waiting because the number of people who need the service is greater than the number of appointments, service providers or equipment available to provide that service in their area.

Only patients who are fit and ready and who have consented to receive the service are placed on a wait list. Patients who are not fit and ready for the service, such as those who need time in pre-habilitation or may be recommended for other treatment options, are not placed on a wait list. Patients who have not consented to the service do not go on a wait list. Patients who are determined by their care provider to be an emergency are also not put on a wait list.

The standard methodology for wait time calculations in Manitoba is retrospective median wait time. This number represents the time point at which half of the patients had received care, and half were still waiting. For example, if a median wait time is four weeks, this means that half of the patients waited less than four weeks, and half waited more than four weeks. The median is another way of reflecting what a "typical" patient might have experienced in that period. Unlike the average, the median is more stable over time.

Surgical services are reported with a retrospective median wait time.

The methodology for calculating the monthly wait time for four of the five diagnostic services (bone density, CT scan, MRI, and ultrasound) was updated to retrospective median wait time, effective April 2021. Before then, diagnostic wait times were estimated based on the next available slot on the schedule. It is important to note that wait times calculated using these two different methodologies are not comparable.

Myocardial perfusion wait times are estimated. As planned improvements in information systems for diagnostic services are implemented, myocardial perfusion wait times will be standardized.

Historically, the starting point for wait times has varied. All provinces and territories have agreed that the measurement of wait times should start when the physician determines that the patient is medically ready, and the patient consents to treatment. The wait time ends when the patient receives the service.

How long you will wait for may depend on a variety of factors, like:

  • the severity of your illness. Patients with life-threatening conditions will be treated as soon as possible, while others may have to wait longer if more urgent cases require the hospital's resources.
  • how many additional patients your doctor must see, as well as how many other people require the same type of care.
  • how the facility schedules patient care, as this can depend on staff, equipment, and bed capacity, among other factors.

Wait times vary from one service to another, from one specialist to another, and from one facility to another. Some reasons include:

  • how busy service providers are in your region,
  • newer specialists might have shorter waiting lists while they build their practice,
  • some specialists only perform certain procedures or work part-time, or
  • some surgical and diagnostic services require specialized staff and facilities.

Depending on your situation, you may request a referral to another physician with a shorter wait list or to another hospital or clinic where you can receive a diagnostic service sooner. Discuss your options with your doctor and be prepared to go for surgery on short notice or to travel to another center for service. This may reduce your wait time. If your condition changes while you are waiting, consult your doctor. You may also qualify to travel out of province for care sooner for certain services, if you meet the eligibility criteria. Learn more about these initiatives here.

The Manitoba government established the Diagnostic and Surgical Recovery Task Force (DSRTF) in December 2021 to help address waitlists in diagnostic and surgical services. In Budget 2022, the province committed $110 million in surgical and diagnostic recovery, through the work of the DSRTF. The DSRTF is comprised of experts in the field, who are tasked with finding solutions to improve waitlists and make overall lasting improvements to the health care system. Learn more about these initiatives here.

Cardiac surgery is surgery on the heart, typically to correct different kinds of heart disease or valve problems. In Manitoba, wait times are reported for all cardiac surgeries which include coronary artery bypass grafts, heart valve replacement or repair, temporary cardiopulmonary bypasses, pericardectomies, and treating deep hypothermic cardiac arrests, heart trauma or heart tumours.

Information on the dashboard reflects wait times for every patient awaiting cataract surgery in Manitoba, whether they are waiting for surgery on the first eye or second eye.