Preoperative consultations are meant to give doctors details if patients have more than one disease; to find out whether more tests are needed; to get patients in the best shape possible before surgery; to discuss care before, during and after surgery; and to delay or cancel surgery if patients are not well enough.
Preoperative anesthesia consultations have increased in Ontario from 19% in 1994 to 53% in 2003. But rates for medical consultations have remained about the same. In fiscal year 2011/12 there were about 43,000 preoperative consultations by anesthesiologists and 20,000 preoperative consultations by internal medicine specialists.
Health Quality Ontario Reviews Preoperative Consultations
Most preoperative consultations are in hospital clinics at least two days before surgery to make sure patients are ready. Preoperative consultations for noncardiac surgeries do not involve operations on the heart. Patients who receive consultations are more likely to be older and have more health problems.
The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care has accepted this recommendation.
The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care has provided the following response: Relevant language in the Schedule of Benefits for Physician Services has been updated to ensure preoperative consultations are publicly funded when medically necessary.