Canadians face two issues in accessing care: availability of surgeons and availability of hospital operating rooms. Patients are waiting about the same amount of time to obtain a medical appointment with a specialist as they do to have their medical treatment performed in a facility
The longest wait-times in Canada are attributed to plastic surgery, neurosurgery and orthopaedic surgery.
CIHI provides measurements in the following key areas of government focus:
Since CIHI started to publish wait-times in 2010, the national target of 26 weeks has never been reached. In fact, 90 percent of Canadian patients treated had to wait almost eight months between booking date and treatment. Even though the number of patients treated increased
from 27,500 in 2010 to 34,000 in 2013, wait-times are remaining the same.
The trend is even worse for this orthopaedic surgery: 56,700 patients were treated in 2013 (more than twice the number treated for hip replacements) and 90 percent had to wait nine months between booking date and operation.
Radiation therapy was the only priority area in which 90 percent of patients were treated within Canada’s targeted four weeks. Cancer treatment wait-times vary according to the location of the cancer within the body and severity. Due to the nature and treatment of prostate cancer, longer wait-times of three months are expected.
Provincial wait-times for CT Scans and MRI Scans are the latest indicators to be integrated into the priority list (added in 2013)6. The longest wait-times are for MRI scans, with patients in Alberta, for example, waiting 250 days from the date of ordering the procedure to the scan.