Chronic Pain

Wait Time Benchmarks for Patients with Chronic Pain

Condition Wait time for first assessment by pain subspecialist after referral by primary physician*
Nerve Damage After surgery or Trauma†  Within 30 days
Pain Related to Disc Problems†  Within 3 months
Cancer pain†‡  Within 14 days
Exacerbations or Flare Ups of Chronic Pain†  Within 3 months
 Other types of chronic pain  Within 6 months

* These wait times do not include subsequent waits for rehabilitation programs, psychology-based programs, or interventional procedures that may be deemed appropriate after the initial consultation with a pain subspecialist.

† These are conditions for which early intervention may provide particular benefits for the patient. They may be considered to be “sentinels”: if services for these conditions can be consistently provided within the benchmarked time interval, then care is probably being provided in an appropriate timeframe for similar chronic pain conditions.

‡ Service within 14 days is recommended for patients who do not have access to a palliative service or in cases in which a palliative care team has asked for a specific procedure.

Related Items

Wait time benchmarks for patients with chronic pain: position of the Canadian Anesthesiologists’ Society

Canadian Anesthesiologists’ Society Website