Monday December 19,
Surgical Wait Times Up Across
BC faired second-best in
Waiting Your Turn Report
by the Fraser Institute
CGH face waits but not as long as some other provinces.
seeking surgical or other therapeutic treatment faced a median wait
time of 19.0 weeks in 2011, the longest wait time since 1993 when
the Fraser Institute first began measuring wait times.
The median surgical
wait time in 2011 jumped to 19.0 weeks from 18.2 weeks in 2010,
exceeding the previous all-time high of 18.3 weeks recorded in 2007,
according to the 21st annual edition of
Waiting Your Turn: Wait Times for Health Care in Canada,
released today by the Fraser Institute, Canada’s leading public
“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
Mark Rovere, Fraser Institute associate director of health policy
research and co-author of the report.
“Despite significant increases in government health spending,
Canadians are still waiting too long to access medically necessary
The Waiting Your Turn report uses the
survey responses of Canadian physicians to measure median waiting
times in an effort to document the degree to which queues for visits
to specialists and for diagnostic and surgical procedures are used
to control health care expenditures. The report measures the wait
times between referral by a general practitioner and consultation
with a specialist, the times between seeing the specialist and
receiving elective treatment, and the total wait times from GP
referral to elective treatment.
According to the report, wait times between 2010 and 2011 increased
in both the delay between referral by a general practitioner to
consultation with a specialist (rising to 9.5 weeks from 8.9 weeks
in 2010), and the delay between a consultation with a specialist and
receiving treatment (rising to 9.5 weeks from 9.3 weeks in 2010).
The report calculates that, in 2011, the average wait for an
appointment with a specialist after being referred by a general
practitioner was 156 per cent longer than in 1993, and 70 per cent
longer to receive treatment after seeing a specialist.
Total waiting time by province
Ontario has the shortest total wait time (the wait between referral
by a general practitioner and receiving treatment) among all
provinces at 14.3 weeks, up from 14.0 weeks in 2010. British
Columbia has the second-shortest total wait at 19.3 weeks, up from
18.8 weeks in 2010. Quebec ranks third at 19.9 weeks, up from 18.8
weeks in 2010, and Alberta fourth at 21.1 weeks, down from 22.1
weeks in 2010.
In Newfoundland and Labrador, the median wait time fell to 22.8
weeks from 29.1 weeks in 2010. Manitoba jumped to 25 weeks from 17.5
weeks in 2010 and New Brunswick dropped to 27.5 weeks from 33.6,
while Nova Scotia and Saskatchewan each recorded 29 weeks, up from
28.5 weeks and 26.5 weeks, respectively.
Prince Edward Island recorded the longest wait time: 43.9 weeks,
down from 44.4 weeks in 2010. Note 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.
The first wait: Between general practitioner and specialist
The provinces with the shortest wait times between referral by a
general practitioner and consultation with a specialist are Ontario
(7.2 weeks), Manitoba (7.5 weeks), and British Columbia (9.7 weeks).
The longest waits for consultation with a specialist are found in
Prince Edward Island (31.6 weeks), New Brunswick (16.6 weeks), and
Nova Scotia (13.3 weeks).
The second wait: Between specialist consultation and
The waiting time between specialist consultation and treatment, the
second stage of waiting, is the lowest in Ontario (7.1 weeks),
followed by Quebec (9.2 weeks) and British Columbia (9.6 weeks).
The longest waits are found in Saskatchewan (19 weeks), Manitoba
(17.5 weeks), and Nova Scotia (15.7 weeks).
Waiting by specialty nationwide
Among the various specialties, the shortest total waits (between
referral from a GP and treatment) are for medical oncology (4.2
weeks), radiation oncology (4.6 weeks), and elective cardiovascular
surgery (10.3 weeks). Conversely, patients waited longest between a
GP referral and plastic surgery (41.6 weeks), orthopedic surgery
(39.1 weeks), and neurosurgery (38.3 weeks).
Number of procedures for which people are waiting
Across the 10 Canadian provinces, the total estimated number of
procedures for which people waited in 2011 is 941,321—an increase of
14 per cent from the estimated 825,827 procedures in 2010.
Assuming that each person waits for only one procedure, 2.76 per
cent of Canadians were waiting for treatment in 2011, which varies
from a low of 1.95 per cent in Ontario to a high of 5.74 percent in
“Six out of 10 provinces are on pace to spend half of total
available revenues on health care by 2017 and at the same time,
Canadians are waiting 104 per cent longer for medical procedures
than they did in 1993. It’s time for policy makers to embrace
sensible reforms that have worked in other industrialized countries
with universal-access health care systems.” Rovere said.
For more information
© Copyright (c) 2011 The Valley Voice