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January 11, 2011

Saskatchewan patients being asked about their experience in hospital emergency departments: Survey by province’s Health Quality Council, health regions

Patients seeking treatment in 14 emergency departments (EDs) around the province are being asked to help improve the quality of care in this setting by completing a survey about their experiences.

Starting January 18, more than 27,000 patients who receive care in participating EDs will be randomly selected to receive a survey in the mail. It asks about a wide range of topics, including how long patients waited to see a doctor, communication with nurses and doctors, pain management, and overall impressions about the care received.

The survey, which is being conducted by Saskatchewan’s Health Quality Council (HQC) and the health regions, will be pilot tested for two months. HQC will report publicly on the results later this year; this information will serve as a baseline against which to compare the results of continuous surveying in all EDs, which is scheduled to start in late 2011 or early 2012.

Marlene Smadu, Chair of the Health Quality Council and Associate Dean, Regina Site, for the College of Nursing, University of Saskatchewan, says input from patients can help lead to improvements. “I hope that patients will take the time to share their opinions about their care experiences in Emergency,” says Smadu. “Their feedback is essential if we are to deliver truly patient-centred care.”

Since 2004, the Health Quality Council has coordinated, in partnership with Saskatchewan health regions, the surveying of patients about their experiences in hospitals across the province. The survey results, minus any identifying information, are shared regularly with health regions and made available publicly on HQC’s website. Health care providers and managers are using the survey results to understand where they are doing well and where they can do better. Most recently, nurses and other members of care teams implementing the Releasing Time to Care(TM) program are using the survey results, alongside other forms of patient feedback, to help plan and evaluate their efforts to improve care.

Every patient treated in one of the 14 EDs (see below) will receive a small handbill about the survey; posters and pamphlets are also available in each of the participating departments. Patients can call a toll-free number (1-866-668-6966) if they do not wish to receive a survey in the mail.

The Health Quality Council is an independent agency that works closely with health regions, providers, and government to accelerate improvement in Saskatchewan’s health care system. HQC is fulfilling this mission by measuring and reporting on quality, building leadership and capability for improvement, engaging providers, and informing health policy.

Facilities participating in ED pilot survey

Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region:

  • Regina General Hospital
  • Pasqua Hospital


  • Saskatoon City Hospital
  • St. Paul’s Hospital
  • Royal University Hospital

Prairie North:

  • Lloydminster Hospital
  • Battlefords Union Hospital

Five Hills:

  • Moose Jaw Union Hospital

Prince Albert Parkland:

  • Victoria Hospital

Sun Country:

  • Weyburn General Hospital


  • Kindersley Integrated Health Care Facility

Kelsey Trail:

  • Melfort Hospital


  • Cypress Regional Hospital


  • Yorkton Regional Health Centre