Surgery wait times for elective medical treatments in Canada are on the rise according to a new report released Monday by the Fraser Institute.
This year’s version of the right wing think-tank’s annual report, titled Waiting Your Turn: Wait Times for Health Care in Canada, notes the median surgical wait time jumped to 19.0 weeks from 18.2 weeks in 2010, exceeding the previous all-time high of 18.3 weeks recorded in 2007.
By comparison, in 1993, the average wait time was 9.3 weeks which equates to a 104 per cent increase in 18 years.
Among the various specialties, the shortest total waits exist for medical oncology (4.2 weeks), radiation oncology (4.6 weeks), and elective cardiovascular surgery (10.3weeks).
Conversely, the report notes, patients wait longest between a GP referral and plastic surgery (41.6 weeks), orthopaedic surgery (39.1 weeks), and neuro surgery (38.3 weeks).
“Canadians are being forced to wait almost four-and-a-half months, on average, to receive surgical care, prolonging the pain and suffering patients and their families are forced to endure,” said the report’s co-author, Mark Rovere, in an accomanying press release.
“Despite significant increases in government health spending, Canadians are still waiting too long to access medically necessary treatment.”
“It’s time for policy makers to embrace sensible reforms that have worked in other industrialized countries with universal-access health care systems.”
Total waiting time by province: (the wait between referral by a general practitioner and receiving treatment):
Ontario: 14.3 weeks
British Columbia: 19.3 weeks
Quebec: 19.9 weeks
Alberta: 21.1 weeks
Newfoundland and Labrador: 22.8 weeks
Manitoba: 25 weeks
New Brunswick: 27.5 weeks
Nova Scotia: 29 weeks
Saskatchewan: 29 weeks
Prince Edward Island: 43.9 weeks*
*The report notes that the number of survey responses from Canada’s smallest province was lower than most others, which may result in reported median wait times being higher or lower than those actually experienced.
It is estimated that, across all 10 provinces, in 2011 people are waiting for an estimated 941,321 procedures.