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BACKGROUND: The effective management of wait times is a top priority for Canadians. Attention to date has largely focused on wait times for adult surgery. The purpose of this study was to develop surgical wait time access targets for children. METHODS: Using nominal group techniques, expert panels reached consensus on prioritization levels for 574 diagnoses in 10 surgical disciplines for wait 1 (W1; time from primary care visit to surgical consultation) and wait 2 (W2; time from decision to operate to receipt of surgery). RESULTS: A 7-stage priority classification reflects the permissible timeframe for children to receive consultation (W1) or surgery (W2). Access targets by priority were linked to 574 diagnoses in 10 pediatric surgical subspecialties. CONCLUSION: The pediatric surgical wait time access targets are a standardized, comprehensive and consensus-based model that can be systematically applied to children's hospitals across Canada. Future research and evaluation on outcomes from this model will evaluate improved access to pediatric surgical care.

Original publication




Journal article


Can j surg

Publication Date





107 - 110


Child, Delphi Technique, Health Care Rationing, Health Priorities, Health Services Accessibility, Humans, Ontario, Pediatrics, Referral and Consultation, Surgical Procedures, Operative, Waiting Lists