BC medical wait times set new record: Fraser Institute

BC medical wait times set new record: Fraser Institute

"British Columbia use to actually do a little bit better than the national average for several years, often amongst the top 3 when it came to wait times, which again is not saying much because in Canada in general wait times are so long that even if you're its really not a great situation".

Among the various specialties, national wait times were longest for orthopaedic surgery at 41.7 weeks, and neurosurgery at 32.9 weeks.

"Excessively long wait times remain a defining characteristic of Canada's health-care system", said Bacchus Barua, associate director of health policy studies at the Fraser Institute, in a statement.

The study finds Ontario has the shortest total wait at 15.4 weeks while New Brunswick has the longest at 41.7 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.

However, Dix said wait times worsened over the past five to seven years under the previous B.C. government and he is working on solutions with doctors and health authorities.

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 Fraser Institute survey was sent to more than 11,800 specialist physicians and about 21 per cent responded.

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

The numbers add up to make B.C. wait times the seventh worst in Canada, Barua said. The shortest wait for a patient was for medical oncology, at about three weeks.

Nine out of 10 hip replacements were completed in 53 weeks, exceeding the national benchmark of 26 weeks, according to the website.

The ministry also has an online tool that allows patients to find out the wait times for specific services at individual hospitals. The Fraser Institute has been tracking wait times in Canada since 1993.

However, surgical demand continues to increase and jurisdictions will be challenged to meet benchmarks, Jarbeau said.