The average wait time between seeing a doctor and receiving treatment is now an average of 20 weeks for Canadians.
A report from the Fraser Institute, which has been running for 23 years, shows that patients across Canada are waiting the longest time in recorded history to receive medical treatment.
Patients wait an average of 46.9 weeks between a GP referral and neurosurgery.
Fraser Institute senior economist Bacchus Barua says many patients have no choice but to wait.
“These are things that are actually affecting patients who are in search of medically necessary treatment and are not finding it within the public system in Canada and unfortunately, they have no alternatives, really within the country, than to seek treatment elsewhere.”
The shortest total wait times include 3.7 weeks for medical oncology and 4.1 weeks for radiation oncology.
Barua says the government needs to do more to address the crisis.
“There are some patients who are able to wait for treatment. But there are many others for whom this is not just a benign inconvenience. There are patients who may be in pain, there are some instances where there may be patients who are waiting so long for treatment that the worst cases may actually even result in the ultimate price to pay, which is death.”
The report shows patients wait longest between a GP referral and neurosurgery – an average of 46.9 weeks.
B.C. Health Minister Terry Lake says the Province is making progress in reducing wait times for medically necessary procedures – such as MRIs.
“There’s no question that we recognize that we are behind other provinces in terms of the numbers of MRI scans we do and the wait times. That’s why we launched the strategy last year and that’s why we’re making a dent in getting to those long waiters.”
Talking to CHNL, Lake says they’re adding more scanners in every part of the province over the next years.