Reduce your wait time

Below are some tips which may help patients reduce their wait time for healthcare services.

Ask about another specialist or clinic
If you are waiting for an appointment, there may be other options close to home. Use this website to explore options in your area and then talk to your doctor about your referral options. You may be able to reduce your wait time.

Willing to travel?
Appointments are usually booked close to a patient's home address. If you can travel, let your doctor know and you may find another location with a shorter wait time on this website.

Choosing the next available appointment
Some specialists in Nova Scotia offer pooled referrals to reduce your wait time to see a specialist. By choosing the pooled referral option, you will be able to see the next available specialist within the group who is qualified to treat your condition. Ask your doctor about whether pooled referral is an option for the type of specialist you need to see.

Go on a cancellation list
For some procedures and exams, hospitals keep a list of patients who are able to come in on short notice if another patient cancels. Ask if this is available for you.

Talk to your physician if your condition changes
Appointments for healthcare services are booked based on the clinical information provided by your doctor or nurse practitioner. While you are waiting, it is important to keep your doctor or nurse practitioner informed if there has been any change in your condition so your referral can be updated accordingly.

Be Prepared
Make sure you know what you need to do in the hours or days before your procedure or exam, such as limiting what you eat or drink. This will help avoid having to reschedule your procedure or exam if you are not prepared.

Cancel scheduled appointments that you are unable to keep (including diagnostic testing)
If you are unable to make a scheduled appointment, let your health-care provider know at least 48 hours in advance, or as early as possible. The more notice you provide, the greater our chances of finding someone else on the list to take your appointment time.

Avoid being on duplicate wait lists
Some Nova Scotians are on more than one wait in an effort to see a specialist faster. This makes the wait times look longer than they actually are. If you find a faster wait time somewhere else, remember to cancel other appointments you no longer need, especially if you have already been seen by a specialist.

Have your health card with you at all times
Your health card identifies you, and you alone, no matter where you receive care in the province. It lets authorized health providers view your up-to-date health information, which eliminates duplicate tests and unnecessary procedures that contribute to wait times.