Nov. 27, 2014
By Laura Finney
Wait times for surgery and therapeutic treatments haven’t improved in the past year, according to a report by the Fraser Institute released yesterday morning.
The report, Waiting Your Turn: Wait Times for Health Care In Canada, 2014, indicates the median wait time remains at 18.2 weeks.
In 1993, wait times were 9.3 weeks.
“Despite high levels of health care spending, Canadians continue to endure unacceptably long wait times for treatment,” said Bacchus Barua, senior economist at the institute’s Centre for Health Policy Studies and lead author of the report.
The study examined the total wait time faced by patients from referral by a general practitioner to consultant with a specialist to treatment.
Wait times varied from province to province.
Ontario reported the shortest total wait at 14.1 weeks, while New Brunswick reported the longest wait times at 37.3 weeks.
They also varied from treatment to treatment.
The shortest wait time in Canada was for medical oncology at 3.3 weeks and 4.2 weeks for radiation oncology, while the longest wait times were for plastic surgery at 27.1 weeks and orthopedic surgery at 42.2 weeks.
The study estimated the number of medical procedures for which Canadians are waiting has increased from last year, to about 937,345.
The study was based on an annual survey of physicians practising in 12 specialties in each province.
Specialists were also surveyed as to what they regard as clinically reasonable wait times. According to the report, patients generally waited more than three weeks longer than what was considered reasonable.