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article imageThousands of children faced unacceptable wait times in 2009

By Andrew Moran     Jun 19, 2010 in Health
Ottawa - A recently released report highlights the wait times for children seeking medical procedures in 2009. The report stated that the long wait times put the children at risk of developing lifelong health problems.
The Wait Time Alliance (WTA), an Ottawa-based organization, was established to improve wait times for those who sought health care. The group’s primary concern was that health care patients waited too long to see a Canadian physician.
The WTA is made up of mostly physicians from Canadian Medical Association, Canadian Cardiovascular Society, and Canadian Association of Paediatric Surgeons
On Thursday, the group released its annual report where it raises awareness that more than 17,000 children in Canada were not treated for illnesses within the set timeframe that doctors say is acceptable, according to the Globe and Mail.
“Since physical development in children and youth occurs very quickly, especially in the earliest years, delaying surgery could have a lifelong impact on these young patients and their families,” states the report.
The report attempts to force the federal and provincial governments to hold its promise to spend $5.5 billion to tackle the lengthy wait times for five areas that were identified in 2004 by health ministers.
“When it comes to wait times, Canadians are selling themselves short,” notes the report. “Canadians deserve timely access to health care and accurate information on how long they can expect to wait for a consultation, test or procedure. Unfortunately, Canada is one of the few developed countries with universal health care systems where patients face long waits for necessary care.”
Dentistry, ophthalmology and plastic surgery proved to be the health areas with the greatest room for improvement because they resulted in the lowest percentage of cases treated. It further notes that wait times to see a general practitioner and to take tests are very long, especially during the GP-to-specialist-consultation stage and specialist-consultation-to-treatment stage.
The report states that the method wait times are measured is incorrect because most techniques assess from the time a specialist decides to treat a patient to the time a patient actually receives care, reports CTV News.
However, there has been some improvement in five areas, according to the report, which are: cancer care, diagnostic imaging, heart, joint replacement and sight restoration.
The Montreal Gazette notes that the provinces of British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec have received A grade scores across the board. However, five million Canadians still do not have a GP.
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