BC patients wait more than 26 weeks for medical care

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

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

7, the Fraser Institute will release its annual survey of health-care wait times in Canada. "Forcing patients to wait a total of 66 weeks on average for orthopedic surgery is really longer than most people would think is a reasonable wait time".

"Long wait times are not a trivial matter - they can increase suffering for patients, decrease quality of life, and in the worst cases, lead to disability or death", study author Bacchus Barua said in a statement.

However, the Canadian Institute for Health Information also reports annually on wait times and its latest study found that three out of four patients have priority procedures done within national benchmarks.

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.

"This has been a continual issue with the Fraser Institute study", he said.

The institute uses provincial and territorial data and focuses on priority areas set out by the 2004 Health Accord.

Jennifer D'Silva, a manager at the health institute, said the number of priority procedures performed is rising and Canada's aging population might be a factor. The only other province that saw wait times reduced was Newfoundland and Labrador, which dropped to 21.5 weeks from 26 weeks.

Bruce Macfarlane, a New Brunswick health department spokesman, said the province makes surgical wait time data available on a website. The benchmarks also set by the accord are considered to be medically acceptable wait times.

"New Brunswick has an aging population and this is impacting the demand for specific types of interventions, for example total hip and knee joint replacements", Macfarlane said.

"Unfortunately I think a lot of politicians and policy members brush wait times off as just a benign inconvenience where as we forget that they can and do often have very real consequences".

Barua said the waits for radiation treatment for cancer patients are the worst in the country at three-and-a-half months.

"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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