Wait Times

The South East LHIN is committed to improving wait times for our residents. As key partners in Ontario’s Wait Times Strategy, we are working with our hospitals as well as regional and provincial partners to actively monitor and improve wait times for a variety of surgical procedures, including cataract, hip and knee as well as for key services like MRI and CT Scans. Below, you will find answers to commonly asked questions as it relates to wait times.

What is a wait time?

A wait time is the amount of time you have to wait for your surgery or exam. Your wait is measured from the time your surgery or exam is booked until the time you receive it. If you need several surgeries or exams for your condition, each one may have its own wait time.

What is a wait list?

A wait list is a list of people who need special medical care, such as:
  • Cardiac (heart) surgery 
  • Hip and knee replacements. 
  • Special exams such as MRIs. 
This list lets doctors decide who gets treatment first. Patients whose illness is more serious or life threatening, get treated first.
Note:  Ontario does not have one wait list for all patients. Each doctor keeps a list of patients who need treatment. 

Why do I need to wait?

Wait times happen in Ontario because:
  • There may be more patients than the health care system can treat at the same time.
  • Our population is getting older and needs more health care.
  • Doctors find new ways to diagnose and treat more illnesses. There may be more patients for a new procedure than the health care system can treat at the same time

What can you do to shorten your wait time?

  • It is your right to be referred to a surgeon with a shorter wait list. Talk to your doctor about your options. 
    • You can use wait time information found at the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care website to find hospitals that have the shortest wait for the procedure you need. 
    • You can ask to see another specialist who has a shorter wait list.
    • You can ask to go to another hospital, where you might be treated sooner. 
    • You might be able to have a treatment on short notice, if an opening becomes available.
If your condition changes while you are waiting for treatment, let your doctor know and talk with your doctor. Your doctor can assess your illness and decide if waiting for treatment will affect your health. 

Source: Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care – Ontario Wait Times