Hospital wait times in BC now longest ever recorded

Nov 23 2016, 5:02 pm

Hospital wait times in BC increased again for the fourth year in a row, with the average time  now sitting at 25.2 weeks—the longest ever measured in the province.

These are the latest figures from a new, recently released report by the Fraser Institute that looked at the total wait time faced by patients across 12 medical specialties: From referral by a general practitioner (i.e. family doctor), to consultation with a specialist, to when the patient is finally treated.

The average wait time in Canada now sits at 20 weeks – again, the longest ever recorded, since 1993, when the Fraser Institute began recording wait times.

That time varied though, depending on what treatment was required. Wait times were longest for neurosurgery (46.9 weeks) and shortest for medical oncology (3.7 weeks).

“Excessively long wait times remain a defining characteristic of Canada’s health-care system,” said Bacchus Barua, senior economist for health-care studies at the Fraser Institute and co-author of Waiting Your Turn: Wait Times for Health Care in Canada, 2016.

But this year is “the longest we’ve ever seen and that should trouble all Canadians.”

Throughout the rest of the country, 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.

And it’s estimated that right now, Canadians are waiting for nearly one million “necessary medical” procedures.

“Long wait times aren’t simply minor inconveniences, they can result in increased suffering for patients, lost productivity at work, a decreased quality of life, and in the worst cases, disability or death,” Barua said. “It’s time for policymakers to consider reforming the outdated policies that contribute to long wait times in Canada.”

Eric ZimmerEric Zimmer

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