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JGH reacts to Auditor General's report

On May 9, the Gazette published an article (“Quebec’s auditor-general criticizes cancer surgery wait times, Hydro costs”) that reported on several erroneous and misleading statements by the Auditor-General about wait times for surgery. This has resulted in an incorrect and incomplete understanding of certain aspects of wait times. Since the Auditor-General’s report has named the Jewish General Hospital (JGH) in at least two instances, I would like to clarify.

  1. It is entirely appropriate to begin calculating wait times from the day the surgeon decides to operate, without taking into account the time needed for previous tests or meetings. Since those earlier activities provide the surgeon with necessary data to determine whether surgery should be performed, there is no point in starting the clock before the surgeon has made a decision.

  2. In keeping with the Code of Ethics of the College of Physicians of Quebec, whenever a surgeon has as many patients as he/she can handle, the patient is referred elsewhere. At no time does a surgeon conduct an evaluation, agree to operate, and then limit the patient’s ability to be placed on the wait list.

  3. At the JGH, all cases are prioritized according to clinical need; non-complex cases are never given priority to make the statistics look good. In fact, the JGH has arranged with LaSalle Hospital for nearly 10 years to have many JGH patients undergo non‑complex surgery at LaSalle, thereby freeing up JGH operating rooms for cancer surgery, as well as other complex and more urgent operations.

  4. The only date that matters in calculating wait times—a practice to which the JGH adheres—is the date when the surgeon submits a request to perform the operation. Even if the patient’s consent form (or any other related document) is signed at a later date, this has no impact on the calculation of the wait time. It should also be noted that in an overwhelming majority of cases, the patient signs the consent form before the day of the operation, and not on the day of the operation.

We are requesting that the Auditor-General correct the erroneous aspects of her report.

Lawrence Rosenberg
President and CEO
Integrated Health and Social Services University Network
for West-Central Montreal