Specialist wait times up in Canada, Ontarians wait the shortest

Modesto Morganelli
Dicembre 8, 2017

7, the Fraser Institute will release its annual survey of health-care wait times in Canada.

"British Columbia use to actually do a little bit better than the national average for several years, often amongst the top 3 when it came to wait times, which again is not saying much because in Canada in general wait times are so long that even if you're its really not a great situation".

New Brunswick saw the longest average at nearly 42 weeks, while Ontario boasts the shortest of 15.

It found wait times in B.C. had climbed for the fifth year in a row, said Fraser Institute associate director of health policy studies Bacchus Barua.

Last year, wait times were about 25 weeks in the province.

Approximately 2.9 per cent of Canadians were waiting for treatment in 2017, the study says. It says this year's wait time is more than double that of 1993, when it was 9.3 weeks.

Between 2012 and 2016, wait times for hip and knee replacements remained relatively stable, while they increased for cataract removal and decreased for hip fracture fix, the report says. The benchmarks also set by the accord are considered to be medically acceptable wait times.

Jennifer D'Silva, a manager at the health institute, said the number of priority procedures performed is rising and Canada's aging population might be a factor. The shortest wait for a patient was for medical oncology, at about three weeks.

The Fraser Institute survey was sent to more than 11,800 specialist physicians and about 21 per cent responded.

New Brunswick collects surgical wait time data and makes it available on a website, said Bruce Macfarlane, a provincial health department spokesman.

"New Brunswick has an aging population and this is impacting the demand for specific types of interventions, for example total hip and knee joint replacements", Macfarlane said in an email.

The ministry also has an online tool that allows patients to find out the wait times for specific services at individual hospitals.

"Unfortunately I think a lot of politicians and policy members brush wait times off as just a benign inconvenience where as we forget that they can and do often have very real consequences".

"The Government of Canada is engaging with provinces and territories to make our health care system more responsive and sustainable", she said.

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