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REVIEW ARTICLE
Year : 2014  |  Volume : 55  |  Issue : 6  |  Page : 443-451

The surgical waiting time initiative: A review of the Nigerian situation


Department of Trauma and Orthopaedic Surgery, Leeds University Teaching Hospitals, Leeds, West Yorkshire, United Kingdom

Correspondence Address:
Imran Haruna Abdulkareem
Department of Trauma and Orthopaedic Surgery, B Floor Clarendon Wing, Leeds General Infi rmary, Great George Street, Leeds-LS1 3EX, West Yorkshire
United Kingdom
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0300-1652.144692

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The concept of surgical waiting time initiative (SWAT) was introduced in developed countries to reduce elective surgery waiting lists and increase efficiency of care. It was supplemented by increasing popularity of day surgery, which shortens elective waiting lists and minimises cancellations. It is established in Western countries, but not in developing countries like Nigeria where it is still evolving. A search was carried out in Pub Med, Google, African journals online (AJOL), Athens and Ovid for relevant publications on elective surgery waiting list in Nigeria, published in English language. Words include waiting/wait time, waiting time initiative, time to surgery, waiting for operations, waiting for intervention, waiting for procedures and time before surgery in Nigeria. A total of 37 articles published from Nigeria in relation to various waiting times were found from the search and fulfilled the inclusion criteria. Among them, 11 publications (29.7%) were related to emergency surgery waiting times, 10 (27%) were related to clinic waiting times, 9 (24.3%) were related to day case surgery, 2 (5.5%) were related to investigation waiting times and only 5 (13.5%) articles were specifically published on elective surgery waiting times. A total of 9 articles (24.5%) were published from obstetrics and gynaecology (OG), 7 (19%) from general surgery, 5 (13.5%) from public health, 3 (8%) from orthopaedics, 3 (8%) from general practice (GP), 3 (8%) from paediatrics/paediatric surgery, 2 (5.5%) from ophthalmology, 1 (2.7%) from ear, nose and throat (ENT), 1 (2.7%) from plastic surgery, 1 (2.7%) from urology and only 1 (2.7%) article was published from dental/maxillofacial surgery. Waiting times mean different things to different health practitioners in Nigeria. There were only 5/37 articles (13.5%) specifically related to elective surgery waiting times in Nigerian hospitals, which show that the concept of the SWAT is still evolving in Nigeria. Of the 37, 11 (24.5%) publications were from obstetrics and gynaecology (O & G) alone, but these were mostly related to emergency antenatal care rather than surgery. Therefore, more research and initiative needs to be undertaken from all the surgical sub-specialties in order to disseminate this concept of SWAT towards early diagnosis and treatment of elective life-threatening conditions, as well as effective patient care. Adopting this concept will help healthcare managers and policy makers to stream line and ring face resources to cater for non-urgent or semi-urgent cases presenting to our hospitals in Nigeria.


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