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Wait Time Definitions

In B.C., two parts of the patient’s journey to scheduled surgery are measured and monitored. These parts are called 'Wait to See a Surgeon' and 'Wait for Surgery'. Both wait times represent component of the total time a patient may wait for scheduled surgery.

  1. Wait to See a Surgeon

    The time that starts when a patient is referred to a surgeon and ends when a patient sees their surgeon for the first time.

  2. Wait for Surgery

    The time that starts when a booking form is received by the health authority and ends when the patient receives scheduled surgery

Timeline of the Surgery Wait process. Step 1 seeing your doctor.                              Step 2: seeing your surgeon. Step 3: Waiting for surgery

Wait for Surgery varies across the province, and can depend on factors such as:

Interested in more information about the Wait to See a Specialist and Wait for Surgery times in B.C. and how they are calculated?


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.

The measures are:

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 (Median) Wait Time

For all cases receiving surgery during the three month reporting period, half waited less than this wait time and half waited longer.

90th Percentile Wait Time

For all cases receiving surgery during the three month reporting period, 90 per cent waited less than this wait time and 10 per cent waited longer.

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.

Other terms used when data is displayed include:


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


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

Health Authorities in B.C.