BC medical wait times set new record: Fraser Institute

Health-care wait times longest in two decades of tracking: report

BC medical wait times set new record: Fraser Institute

7, the Fraser Institute will release its annual survey of health-care wait times in Canada.

The latest snapshot of medical wait times from the right-leaning think tank reports British Columbians are waiting, on average, six-and-a-half months from the moment their doctor writes a referral to the time they are getting treatment. New Brunswick had the longest median wait times in Canada, at 41.7 weeks, followed by Nova Scotia (37.7 weeks) and P.E.I.

Author of the study Bacchus Barua says wait times go up at least a week every year, we just haven't realized the progression.

Research indicates the median waiting time is now sitting at 21.2 weeks, which is a 128% jump from when the survey first started back in 1993, when it was just 9.3 weeks.

The institute uses provincial and territorial data and focuses on priority areas set out by the 2004 Health Accord, including cancer, cardiac disease, diagnostic imaging, joint replacement and sight restoration.

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For the fifth year in a row, B.C. saw an increase in wait times and is still higher than the national median of 26.2 weeks.

Between 2012 and 2016, wait times for hip and knee replacements remained relatively stable, while they increased for cataract removal and decreased for hip fracture fix, the report says.

Jennifer D'Silva, manager of emerging issues at the institute, said the number of priority procedures being performed continues to rise and Canada's aging population might be a factor. The shortest wait for a patient was for medical oncology, at about three weeks.

The benchmarks also set by the accord are considered to be medically acceptable periods of time.

The Fraser Institute sent surveys to more than 11,800 specialist physicians and received responses from 21 per cent.

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Bruce Macfarlane, a New Brunswick health department spokesman, said the province makes surgical wait time data available on a website.

The ministry also has an online tool that allows patients to find out the wait times for specific services at individual hospitals.

"We are also seeing incredibly long wait times for neurosurgery".

"The Government of Canada is engaging with provinces and territories to make our health care system more responsive and sustainable", she said.

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