Background: Measuring waiting times for elective surgical procedures is vital because it is considered as a proxy for evaluating the quality of surgical care. The aim was to examine waiting time for elective surgery at the University Teaching Hospital (UTH) in Zambia, looking at both patient and facility factors. Methods: This was a crosssectional study utilizing data from medical records of patients who were scheduled for elective surgical procedures at the UTH, between 1st December 2018 and 31st January 2019. The Weibull regression model was used to examine waiting times from admission to surgery using patient profiles and to assess the factors associated with waiting time. Results: During the study period, 182 patients underwent elective surgical procedures. The overall median waiting time was 9 days (interquartile range 4 to – 18 days). Significant differences in waiting time were observed by the surgical unit (log-rank test, p=0.01). Lack of blood products from the blood bank and lack of operating theatre time were significant determinants of longer times (p=0.02, event time ratio [ETR] 2.23), and (p=0.01, ETR 1.96) respectively. Patients from the neuro-surgical unit experienced a waiting time that was 2.72 (p=0.04) times more than patients from other surgical units. Conclusion: We were able to determine waiting times for elective surgical procedures and this can be used to plan for surgery given patient profiles. Additionally, we found that the unavailability of blood products for transfusion and lack of operating theatre time increase waiting time for elective surgery. Ensuring the availability of blood products may reduce waiting time for surgery.
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