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Average wait for surgery in N.L. more than 42 weeks, Fraser Institute says


Patients in Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick have the longest wait times for surgery in the country, from the time they see a family doctor, then a specialist and have surgery, according to a new study by the Fraser Institute.

The study report shows an average total wait time from family doctor to surgery in Newfoundland and Labrador at about 42.7 weeks, New Brunswick, 42.8 weeks and Prince Edward Island, 43.1 weeks. The comparable wait time in Nova Scotia was 26.1 weeks and national average wait, 18.3 weeks.

The Fraser Institute says the median wait time for Canadians seeking medically necessary surgery or other therapeutic treatment remains stagnant for the third consecutive year.

The annual survey of physicians from across the country, reports a median national wait time of 18.3 weeks, up slightly from 18.2 weeks in 2014. In 1993, the wait time was just 9.3 weeks.

The study examines the total wait time faced by patients across 12 medical specialities from referral by a general practitioner to consultation with a specialist, and subsequent receipt of treatment.

“These protracted wait times are not the result of insufficient spending but because of poor policy. In fact, it’s possible to reduce wait times without higher spending or abandoning universality.

The key is to better understand the health policy experiences of other more successful universal health care systems around the developed world,” Bacchus Barua, senior economist at the Fraser Institute's Centre for Health Policy Studies, said in a news release. Barua is author of Waiting Your Turn: Wait Times for Health Care in Canada, 2015 Report.

The news release says on a provincial basis, Saskatchewan now has the shortest waits in the country at 13.6 weeks, a dramatic turnaround from 2011 when it was among the country’s longest wait times (29.0 weeks). It’s followed by Ontario (14.2 weeks), Quebec (16.4 weeks), and Manitoba (19.4 weeks), which has also decreased wait times since its 2013 high of 25.9 weeks.

For the third consecutive year, British Columbia recorded an increase in wait times with its median wait now sitting at 22.4 weeks.

But, the Atlantic provinces face the longest average wait times. The report says the number of survey responses in Atlantic Canada were lower than other provinces, which may result in reported median wait times being higher or lower than those actually experienced.

Among the various specialities, the longest referral-to-treatment wait times exist for patients requiring orthopaedic surgery — at 35.7 weeks and neurosurgery  at 27.6 weeks. In fact, the report says patients requiring such treatments can expect to wait over 15 weeks to just get a consultation with a specialist after getting a referral from their family doctor.

“These wait times for medically necessary treatment in Canada are not simply minor inconveniences. They can result in pain and suffering for patients, contribute to lost productivity at work, decreased quality of life, and in the worst cases, disability and death,” Barua said.

On a somewhat better note, the report says cancer patients face much shorter referral-to-treatment wait times, relative to other treatments, for radiation oncology (4.1 weeks) and medical oncology (4.5 weeks) .

The Fraser Institute, which describes itself as "an independent, non-partisan Canadian public policy think-tank," has been outspoken in the past about advancing a pay-for-service medical sector.

The full report can be read by clicking HERE.

 

 

 

 

The study report shows an average total wait time from family doctor to surgery in Newfoundland and Labrador at about 42.7 weeks, New Brunswick, 42.8 weeks and Prince Edward Island, 43.1 weeks. The comparable wait time in Nova Scotia was 26.1 weeks and national average wait, 18.3 weeks.

The Fraser Institute says the median wait time for Canadians seeking medically necessary surgery or other therapeutic treatment remains stagnant for the third consecutive year.

The annual survey of physicians from across the country, reports a median national wait time of 18.3 weeks, up slightly from 18.2 weeks in 2014. In 1993, the wait time was just 9.3 weeks.

The study examines the total wait time faced by patients across 12 medical specialities from referral by a general practitioner to consultation with a specialist, and subsequent receipt of treatment.

“These protracted wait times are not the result of insufficient spending but because of poor policy. In fact, it’s possible to reduce wait times without higher spending or abandoning universality.

The key is to better understand the health policy experiences of other more successful universal health care systems around the developed world,” Bacchus Barua, senior economist at the Fraser Institute's Centre for Health Policy Studies, said in a news release. Barua is author of Waiting Your Turn: Wait Times for Health Care in Canada, 2015 Report.

The news release says on a provincial basis, Saskatchewan now has the shortest waits in the country at 13.6 weeks, a dramatic turnaround from 2011 when it was among the country’s longest wait times (29.0 weeks). It’s followed by Ontario (14.2 weeks), Quebec (16.4 weeks), and Manitoba (19.4 weeks), which has also decreased wait times since its 2013 high of 25.9 weeks.

For the third consecutive year, British Columbia recorded an increase in wait times with its median wait now sitting at 22.4 weeks.

But, the Atlantic provinces face the longest average wait times. The report says the number of survey responses in Atlantic Canada were lower than other provinces, which may result in reported median wait times being higher or lower than those actually experienced.

Among the various specialities, the longest referral-to-treatment wait times exist for patients requiring orthopaedic surgery — at 35.7 weeks and neurosurgery  at 27.6 weeks. In fact, the report says patients requiring such treatments can expect to wait over 15 weeks to just get a consultation with a specialist after getting a referral from their family doctor.

“These wait times for medically necessary treatment in Canada are not simply minor inconveniences. They can result in pain and suffering for patients, contribute to lost productivity at work, decreased quality of life, and in the worst cases, disability and death,” Barua said.

On a somewhat better note, the report says cancer patients face much shorter referral-to-treatment wait times, relative to other treatments, for radiation oncology (4.1 weeks) and medical oncology (4.5 weeks) .

The Fraser Institute, which describes itself as "an independent, non-partisan Canadian public policy think-tank," has been outspoken in the past about advancing a pay-for-service medical sector.

The full report can be read by clicking HERE.

 

 

 

 

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