A Fraser Institute report shows the median wait time for surgery across the country is 19 weeks between the referral from a general practitioner and the start of elective treatment.

Surgical wait times longest in 18 years in Canada

More surgeries than ever before being performed in B.C., health ministry says.

A new report by the Fraser Institute shows wait times for medical treatment have reached a new high in Canada – the longest wait times in 18 years.

But in B.C., more surgeries are being done than ever before, says the provincial Ministry of Health.

The report shows B.C. has the second-shortest total wait at 19.3 weeks – but that is still an increase from 18.8 weeks in 2010.

The Fraser Institute report, entitled Waiting Your Turn: Wait Times for Health Care in Canada, shows the median wait time for surgery across the country is 19 weeks between the referral from a general practitioner and the start of elective treatment.

“At 104 percent longer than it was in 1993, this is the longest total wait time recorded since the Fraser Institute began measuring wait times in Canada,” the report says.

“It is estimated that, across all 10 provinces, in 2011 people are waiting for an estimated 941,321 procedures,” the report finds.

“This means that, assuming that each person waits for only one procedure, 2.8 percent of Canadians are waiting for treatment.”

The report notes the doctors surveyed reported only 9.4 per cent of patients are on a waiting list because they requested a delay or postponement.

But the results “indicate that despite high levels of health expenditure and provincial wait time strategies, it is clear that patients in Canada are waiting too long to receive treatment,” states the report.

The B.C. Ministry of Health cites a different, scientific report conducted by the Canadian Institute for Health Information, published in March 2011, that shows “B.C. is a leader in meeting the federally set benchmarks for all priority wait time areas: radiation treatment for cancer, cardiac care, sight restoration and joint replacement.”

According to that report, more than 90 per cent of patients receive care within benchmarks for the two most vital wait time areas – cardiac care and radiation treatment for cancer.

“We are doing more surgeries than ever before in B.C.,” the health ministry says in a prepared statement.

“In fiscal 2010/2011, there were approximately 514,000 surgeries done in B.C. – 26 per cent more than done in 2001/2002.”

The ministry says that by adding more surgeries each year, increasing the number of surgeons and helping physicians manage their wait lists better, “we have been able to maintain a relatively flat level of growth in our waiting lists and wait times, despite the continual growing demand for these services.”

Patient-focused funding is “another reason for our success,” the ministry says, and states an additional 36,000 patients received surgical and diagnostic care and an additional 67,000 emergency department patients were seen within targeted wait times in the first round of funding.

A new regional online tool was launched by Fraser Health last week as well, to help pair waiting patients with available surgeons – www.fraserhealth.ca/surgery

The ministry’s statement notes it is “important to remember the results of the Fraser Institute survey are based on opinion – not science” and that reasonable wait times must be based on clinical data and not personal opinion.

Surrey North Delta Leader

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Cloverdale automobile shop offers to pick up, service, and drop off vehicles

Surrey’s Visscher-Pau Automotive starts ‘Blue Glove’ valet service — will cover Cloverdale, Langley, Newton, Fleetwood, and Hazelmere

White Rock brewery turns up the (alcohol by) volume in COVID-19 fight

3 Dogs Brewing is making hand sanitizer for frontline workers, general public

Surrey RCMP looking for ‘distraction theft’ suspect

Suspect allegedly tried to swipe a man’s necklace while giving him a hug

1,000 food hampers packed for delivery to students of Surrey’s inner-city schools

City Dream Centre-led initiative involved volunteer effort at Horizon Church in Newton

Surrey councillor wants property taxes deferred to December

Linda Annis is expected to present notice of motion to that effect at April 6 “virtual” council meeting

Here’s how to talk to people who aren’t taking physical distancing seriously

Approach the conversation with empathy says conflict expert

Fraser Valley auto sound business starts producing face shields

Certified Auto Sound & Security is doing what it can to help frontline healthcare workers.

B.C. clears more acute hospital beds as COVID-19 case growth slows

Province holding about 40% of beds empty for peak still to come

As 500K+ apply for emergency benefit, Trudeau says aid coming for Canadians left behind

Canada Emergency Response Benefit provides $2,000 per month

Wearing non-medical masks can stop spread of COVID-19 before symptoms start: Tam

Health officials had previously not recommended wearing them

UPDATE: UK PM Boris Johnson moved to intensive care after COVID-19 symptoms worse

He has been quarantined in his Downing St. residence since being diagnosed with COVID-19 on March 26

Travellers, travel agents ‘in agony’ over refund policies and customer service

Many Canadian carriers are offering customers flights rebookings or travel vouchers — but not refunds

Introverted and extroverted kids likely to react differently to COVID-19 restrictions

B.C. child psychologist says your parenting approach can’t be one-size fits all in social isolation

Most Read