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Wait times for Canadians seeking medical treatment increases

By Carolyn E. Price     Dec 6, 2010 in Health
The Fraser Institute is reporting that Canadians are waiting, on average, an additional 2 weeks this year from the time they see their General Practitioner to the time the elective treatment is delivered.
In its annual report entitled Wait Your Turn, Wait Times for Health Care in Canada, and for the first time since 2007, the Fraser Institute reports that Canadians have seen their time spent waiting for elective medical treatments increase by over two weeks.
Last year, from the time their GP referred them to a specialist to the time their treatment was actually started, Canadians had to wait approximately 16.1 weeks. That period has risen dramatically in just one year up to 18.2 weeks. The nationwide trend toward increased wait times is repeated through all 10 Canadian provinces.
Ontario leads the way with the lowest average wait times; the 2010 average is 14.0, up from 2009's 12.5 weeks. Prince Edward Island saw the most dramatic increase and has the longest wait times in 2010 at 44.4 weeks, up from 26.7 in 2009.
Orthopaedic surgery continues to lead the pack when it comes to waiting times, with patients waiting on average almost 37 weeks. Medical oncology and radiation oncology are the two specialties where Canadians wait the least amount of time, on average 4.9 and 5.5 weeks respectively.
The report notes that there were rather large increases in wait times in five specialties, Ophthalmology saw the largest increase in wait times with a 4.5 week increase to an almost 27 week wait period, Internal Medicine increased by 2.2 weeks to just over a 14 week wait, and all three Cardiovascular Surgery, General Surgery, and Orthopaedic Surgery, were all up by 1.9 weeks to a 10 week, 12 week wait and almost 37 week wait period, respectively.
The most concerning conclusion made by the specialists surveyed was that Canadians are waiting almost 3 weeks longer than what a physician deems to be a "reasonable" time period between their appointment with a specialist and when they actually receive their elective procedure.
The report also notes that based on the assumption that each person on the wait lists is waiting for one procedure, approximately 2.45% of Canadians (or 825,827 procedures) are waiting for treatment.
More about Wait times, Surgery, Canadians, Medical treatment, Fraser institute
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