Background: Wait time information and compliance with national guidelines are limited to a few adult conditions in the province of Quebec. We aimed to assess compliance with Paediatric Canadian Access Targets for Surgery (P-CATS) guidelines and determine the burden incurred due to waiting for 3 common elective surgical conditions (inguinal hernia, cryptorchidism and hypospadias) in a pediatric population.
Methods: We carried out a population-based retrospective cohort study of randomly selected children residing in Quebec without complex chronic medical conditions, using administrative databases belonging to the Régie de l’assurance maladie du Québec for the period 2010–2013. Disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) were calculated to measure the burden due to waiting. Multivariate forward regression identified risk factors for compliance with national guidelines.
Results: Surgical wait time information was assessed for 1515 patients, and specialist referral wait time was assessed for 1389 patients. Compliance with P-CATS benchmarks was 76.6% for seeing a specialist and 60.7% for receiving surgery. Regression analysis identified older age (p < 0.0001) and referring physician specialty (p = 0.001) as risk factors affecting specialist referral wait time target compliance, whereas older age (p = 0.040), referring physician specialty (p = 0.043) and surgeon specialty (p = 0.002) were significant determinants in surgical wait time compliance. The total burden accrued due to waiting beyond benchmarks was 35 DALYs.
Conclusion: Our results show that provincial compliance rates with wait time benchmarks are still inadequate and need improvement. Patient age and physician specialty were both found to have significant effects on wait time target compliance.