Wait Time Alliance welcomes new member

    OTTAWA, March 17 /CNW Telbec/ - The Wait Time Alliance (WTA) is pleased
to welcome the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada (SOGC) as
its 13th member. Today the SOGC has released national wait time benchmarks for
obstetrical and gynaecological health services for consultation, investigation
and surgery in the four key areas of practice, those being; Obstetrics,
Maternal Fetal Medicine, General Gynaecology, Gynaecological (OB/GYN) Cancers
and Urogynaecology.
    "Access to obstetrical and gynaecology services is at crisis levels in
many parts of Canada," said Dr. Guylaine Lefebvre, President of the SOGC. "The
benchmarks being released today represent the first initiatives to manage and
monitor wait times in the field of obstetrics and gynaecology. Now, we are
setting our sights on establishing a clearly defined wait-time strategy to
avoid potentially negative effects that overly long wait times can have on our
    Physicians and health professionals working in this OB/GYN face serious
challenges in access to care, especially since emergency and most non-elective
surgery wait times are becoming a problem for practitioners in gynaecology.
    "Having the SOGC join the Wait Time Alliance is extremely important given
this is a specialty providing critical services to half of our population and
one where patients face severe access issues," added the Co-Chair of the WTA,
Dr. Lorne Bellan. "The WTA is pushing both federal and provincial governments
to expand the benchmarking process beyond the five original priority areas, as
inadequate wait times have a tremendous negative impact on patient care."
    To become a member of the WTA, the SOGC had to document wait time
benchmarks using level 5 evidence or higher. This criteria has been attained
and the results will be published in a SOGC policy statement in the Society's
Journal March 2008 edition (also available at www.sogc.org). The document also
states that "access to obstetrical care, in particular, is in crisis in
Canada, and delayed obstetrical care is a life and death issue for the mother
and her baby".
    "We must continue to work at giving maternity care the resources needed
to keep it safe and available in Canada," added Dr. Lefebvre. "The time is now
for federal, provincial and territorial governments to address this health
human resource deficiency and the SOGC looks forward to working within the WTA
to help make that happen."
    The Wait Time Alliance (WTA) was formed out of concern among Canada's
doctors over delayed access to care for their patients, and an interest in
working collaboratively with stakeholders to improve wait times. The WTA is
comprised of several national medical specialty societies whose members are
directly involved in providing care to patients. For more information on the
WTA please go to: www.waittimealliance.ca

For further information:

For further information: Lucie Boileau, Canadian Medical Association,
Media Relations Manager, (800) 663-7336, (613) 731-8610 x 1266,
lucie.boileau@cma.ca; Mike Haymes, The Society of Obstetricians and
Gynaecologists of Canada, (613) 730-4192 x 325, mhaymes@sogc.com

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