Canadian socialized healthcare wait times reach the highest in recorded history

Canada’s socialized health care system is progressively collapsing, a new report shows.

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For nearly 30 years, the Fraser institute conducted a survey of specialist physicians across 12 specialties and 10 provinces to evaluate wait times to access specialists, diagnostics, or surgical procedures in the country.

In 2022, the wait times reached their highest point on record. 

“Specialist physicians surveyed report a median waiting time of 27.4 weeks between referral from a general practitioner and receipt of treatment—longer than the wait of 25.6 weeks reported in 2021. This year’s wait time is the longest wait time recorded in this survey’s history and is 195% longer than in 1993, when it was just 9.3 weeks”, the Fraser Institute wrote. 

“There is a great deal of variation in the total waiting time faced by patients across the provinces. Ontario reports the shortest total wait—20.3 weeks—while Prince Edward Island reports the longest—64.7 weeks. There is also a great deal of variation among specialties. Patients wait longest between a GP referral and neurosurgical procedures (58.9 weeks), while those waiting for radiation treatments begin treatment in 3.9 weeks”.

Canada is one of the few countries around the world where all hospitals are managed by the government. Private healthcare is limited to a small array of procedures and practices. 

From referral by a general practitioner to consultation with a specialist. The waiting time in this segment increased from 11.1 weeks in 2021 to 12.6 weeks in 2022. This wait time is 242% longer than in 1993, when it was 3.7 weeks. The shortest waits for specialist consultations are in Ontario (10.1 weeks) while the longest occur in Prince Edward Island (41.7 weeks).

From the consultation with a specialist to the point at which the patient receives treatment. The waiting time in this segment increased from 14.5 weeks in 2021 to 14.8 weeks this year. This wait time is 164% longer than in 1993 when it was 5.6 weeks, and 6.7 weeks longer than what physicians consider to be clinically “reasonable” (8.1 weeks). The shortest specialist-to-treatment waits are found in Ontario (10.2 weeks), while the longest are in Manitoba (25.4 weeks).

It is estimated that, across the 10 provinces, the total number of procedures for which people are waiting in 2022 is 1,228,047.

Assuming that each person waits for only one procedure, 3.2% of Canadians are waiting for treatment in 2022. 

The proportion of the population waiting for treatment varies from a low of 2.44% in Ontario to a high of 6.05% in Newfoundland & Labrador. It is important to note that physicians report that only about 11.03% of their patients are on a waiting list because they requested a delay or postponement.

Patients also experience significant waiting times for various diagnostic technologies across the provinces. This year, Canadians could expect to wait 5.4 weeks for a computed tomography (CT) scan, 10.6 weeks for a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan, and 4.9 weeks for an ultrasound.

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