Does being put on a cancellation list fast-track surgery?

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  • D. Albert says:

    I am on the waiting list for a hip replacement. I have lost some weight and doing exercises. Am still doing pretty good and told the booking agent that I am not in a hurry to have the surgery, but would prefer to wait. I was told recently, that if I refuse to take the next date they give me, I will get dropped from the list and have to start all over again. I can not risk going off the list, because sometimes things can get worse quickly and the waiting list then would be well over a year. I had asked my surgeon at the time, that if I am still in OK shape when the time comes, if I can wait and remain on the list. He assured me that that is not a problem and if my situation changes, I can call and will have a shorter waiting time. I do not understand why the system is pushing me to do the surgery before necessary, when there are so many people waiting, that are in serious pain. What should I do ?

  • Jodie Williams says:

    What to do when surgery was cancelled and now you are on a wait list again after just waiting for over a year?

  • Dr. T. Derek Cooke says:

    I share Dr Gollish’s sentiments completey.

    But, the reader is bringing up an extremely important point, that is echoed in Dr Gollishes comments.
    How bad is the problem? The pain may be increasing but generally, that if the joint condition is not changing (based for instance on X-ray changes) than justification for an earlier date may not be there. On the other hand, the current evaluation, even within a MSK clinic, is not based on hard evidence. There is a need for objective evidence based information on the extent of disability and, more importantly, the severity of the joint damage.
    This kind of evaluation/re-evaluation is feasible and does not need another clinic appointment.

  • Gerald I Goldlist says:

    But does the patient have to see the new surgeon prior to the surgery or does the patient meet her surgeon in the operating room for the first time?

    • Paul Taylor says:

      Hi Gerald:

      The patient will have an appointment with the surgeon well before the actual operation.

      • Gerald I. Goldlist says:

        So there is very unlikely to be a saving of time for the patient himself as the waiting time for the visit to the new surgeon’s pre-op visit will almost certainly negate the time on the surgical waiting list.

        The fact that the patient will have had consultations with two surgeons will also clog the health care system further and cost the health care system more money.

      • Paul Taylor says:

        All things considered, I think it‘s fair to say that a patient’s best bet (for the soonest operation) would be to go through the LHIN’s centralized referral process and request the first available appointment with an orthopaedic surgeon within the LHIN.

  • Gerald I Goldlist says:

    Once you are on one surgeon’s waiting list, do you have to wait for an appointment to see the second surgeon prior to getting on the second surgeon’s OR waiting list?

    • Paul Taylor says:

      Hi Gerald:
      If you are currently on one surgeon’s wait list, you can still ask your family physician to refer you to the LHIN’s centralized process for the first available surgeon.

      Actually, my wife recently had knee replacement surgery. She was on the wait list of a particular surgeon and decided to switch to the central referral service run by the LHIN. But, just by chance, she got a call from her surgeon, offering a cancellation spot. So she ended up having the operation performed by her original surgeon after all.

      Paul Taylor


Paul Taylor


Paul Taylor is a health journalist and former Patient Navigation Advisor at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, where he provided advice and answered questions from patients and their families. Paul will continue to write occasional columns for Healthy Debate.

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