In 2016, Canadian patients waited longer than ever for medical treatment, finds a new study by the Fraser Institute. A median wait time of 20 weeks — the longest ever recorded for medically necessary elective treatments.
Long waiting times are a key reason why Canadians become medical tourists.
In 2016, Canadian patients waited longer than ever for medical treatment, finds a new study by the Fraser Institute: ‘Waiting your turn: wait times for health care in Canada, 2016.’
The study, an annual survey of doctors across Canada, reports a median wait time of 20 weeks — the longest ever recorded for medically necessary elective treatments. The previous longest recorded median wait time was 19 weeks in 2011.
The study examines the total wait time faced by patients across 12 medical specialties from referral by a general practitioner to consultation with a specialist, to when the patient ultimately receives treatment.
Among the provinces, Ontario recorded the shortest wait time at 15.6 weeks—up from 14.2 weeks in 2015. New Brunswick recorded the longest wait time (38.8 weeks) in Canada.
For the fourth year in a row, British Columbia recorded an increase in wait times with the median at 25.2 weeks — the longest ever measured in the province.
Among the various specialties, national wait times were longest for neurosurgery (46.9 weeks) and shortest for medical oncology (3.7 weeks).
Canadians are currently waiting for nearly one million medically necessary procedures. Patients are waiting more than three weeks longer for treatment after seeing a specialist than what is clinically reasonable.