Wait Time Data Collection

The data available on the Surgical Wait Times website includes only scheduled procedures and is updated on a monthly basis using data that comes from the Surgical Patient Registry (SPR). The SPR captures adult and pediatric surgical procedures that are typically completed in an operating room or another room that requires similar equipment and human resources and are scheduled in the hospital's operating room booking system.

Some of the data available on the website are not recorded by the SPR, but are submitted monthly to the Ministry by other agencies. These include:

The wait time for a surgical procedure begins when the patient and the surgeon have decided that surgery is necessary and the booking information is received by the hospital. The wait time ends when the surgery is performed or when the case is removed from the wait list for reasons determined by the surgeon and the patient. The SPR allows health authorities to collect the dates that patients have identified as periods of time during which they are unavailable for surgery. These time periods are deducted from the patient's total wait time for surgery.

There are four measures reported on this website for both adult (aged 17 and over) and pediatric (aged under 17) patients. They are reported by health authority, hospital, surgeon and procedure group.

  1. cases waiting;
  2. cases completed (only found in the Summary Reports);
  3. 50th percentile wait time (median wait time); and
  4. 90th percentile wait time .

Percentile wait times are a more accurate measure than average wait times because averages can be affected by just a few cases that are waiting a long time where percentiles are not.

Note that cancer cases are not reported separately for all surgical procedures. To improve the statistical significance of reporting cancer events, procedures were selected from a 15 month evaluation period where at least 10 cases were done and at least 5% of those cases were flagged as cancer proven or suspected.


Cases waiting: The number of patients waiting for surgery on the last day of the reporting period.

Cases completed: The number of cases that received their surgery during the three month reporting period.

50th percentile wait time (median wait time): For all elective cases receiving surgery during the three month reporting period, half waited less than this wait time and half waited longer for a specific procedure.

90th percentile wait time: For all elective cases receiving surgery during the three month reporting period, 90 per cent waited less than this wait time and 10 per cent waited longer for a specific procedure.

Inpatient Surgery: This is a surgical service provided to patients requiring professional nursing care and observation, daily medical attention, specialized care during the recovery phase and possibly a planned and coordinated program of rehabilitation that can only be carried out properly while the person is a patient in an acute care hospital.

Day Surgery: This is a surgical service provided to patients who do not require inpatient services. Patients are admitted and discharged on the same calendar day, and are usually discharged between one and six hours following the procedure.


NR: Not reported (e.g. since "all other procedures" includes a wide variety of unrelated procedures, it is not relevant to report a wait time)

NA: Not applicable (e.g. when there are no cases completed during the reporting period, it is not applicable to report wait times information)


The Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA), as data custodian for the SPR, provides the ongoing management for this provincial resource. All B.C. health authorities are committed to maintaining confidentiality and personal privacy and must comply with the provisions of the B.C. Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. Visit PHSA's privacy information webpage regarding the use of data from the SPR.

For the purposes of ensuring patient confidentiality, all cases waiting and cases completed fields shown on the Surgical Wait Times website with values less than five are shown as <5.