Monday, June 22, 2009

Canada's Wait Times Exceed Benchmarks

From Canada's Wait Time Alliance for Timely Access to Health Care's 2009 annual report "Unfinished Business: Report Card on Wait Times in Canada":

Five years ago the governments of Canada resolved to improve wait times for health care by committing nearly $6 billion to the cause. Although there are signs of improvement, the lack of uniform and timely information on wait times is just one symptom of the ‘unfinished business’relating to wait times in Canada. What’s going on?

■ Based on the UK's National Health Service target of 18-weeks from initial referral by a family physician to start of treatment, a majority of Canadian patients had wait times that exceeded the 18-week target. Access is particularly poor for: ophthalmology (adult strabismus), obstetrics and gynecology, gastroenterology, plastic surgery and orthopedics.

■ The median wait for radical (curative) cancer care was 46 days or nearly 7 weeks and the majority of these treatments exceeded the Canadian Association of Radiation Oncology benchmark for curative cancer treatment of 4 weeks (2 weeks for the consult wait and 2 weeks for treatment). This is troublesome given the clear link between a delay in radiation therapy and a chance of cure.

■ The study found that the median wait time from the time the patient presented at the Emergency Department to the time the patient was discharged (i.e., the patient did not need to be admitted to an inpatient bed) was almost 6 hours, while the average wait was nearly 9 hours, both much longer than the benchmark of 4 hours.

Moreover, the median wait time for patients requiring an inpatient bed-that is, from the time the patient presented at the ED to the time they were admitted to an inpatient bed-was
19 hours (average is 23.5 hours or nearly one full day), which is substantially higher than the established thresholds (e.g., more than three times the 6 hour guideline for high-level acuity patients). The longer wait for patients to be admitted is often due to the inability to find an available hospital inpatient bed.


At 6/23/2009 12:01 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The point is: They Have a Wait Time.

Millions of Americans would Love to have a Wait Time.

At 6/23/2009 12:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We've been giving it to our Canadian brothers pretty hard lately. Just to show there is no hard feelings, here's a great VIDEO.

Wait for the troops reaction. Priceless.

At 6/23/2009 1:08 AM, Blogger Hot Sam said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 6/23/2009 4:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Millions of Americans would Love to have a Wait Time."

Sure, but let's first figure out in an objective way just how many really want or need coverage. Then let's figure out a way to do it without a big, fat, and bloated government program.

At 6/23/2009 9:34 AM, Blogger Ironman said...

From "Who Is Clogging Up Hospital Emergency Rooms?"

Although Canada has a single-payer system that theoretically provides health care for all Canadians, it has also seen its emergency rooms become very crowded during the same period as the U.S. The belief that this crowding is due to patients seeking non-urgent care is directly equivalent to the impact that uninsured patients are believed to have upon the crowding of hospital emergency rooms in the United States.


The problem with repeating this claim as part of the health care reform mantra that many of these media organizations endorse is that it turns out to be a myth.

The main difference between the U.S. and Canada is that in the U.S., the "uninsured" are used as scapegoats to explain the situation. The real problem is a chronic underinvestment in health care infrastructure, including inadequate compensation, on the part of health care administrators and often government authorities.

At 6/23/2009 9:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So, how would government run health care work in the U.S.?

Here's an example of things to come.

Let's see if Obama and the Democrats can fix the mess they've made of Medicare and the VA before we trust them with anything else.

At 6/23/2009 9:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The main difference between the U.S. and Canada is that in the U.S., the "uninsured" are used as scapegoats to explain the situation.

The article suggests that it's people in genuine need of acute care that are forced to wait in Canadian ER's:

His research illustrated that patients in urgent need of acute-care, admitting beds, extended stay, specialists and other high demand care needs actually have a greater impact on overcrowding.

Where's the evidence that this is the case in the U.S.? It's true that in some cities ER's are crowded with people that would be better served at clinics, but patients are prioritized and acute care needs are addressed immediately.

At 6/23/2009 11:07 AM, Blogger juandos said...

rufus whines: "Millions of Americans would Love to have a Wait Time"...

Let these losers wait in Cuban hospitals...

After all your philosopical traveler Michael Moore can't be wrong, can he?

At 6/23/2009 12:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not whining. And, being an Ex-Marine, and Vietnam Veteran who's never voted for the "Liberal" candidate in my life, I hardly think I'm a Michael Moore, fellow traveler.

I'm just telling you the way it is.

Millions of Americans are "Locked Out" from effective Health Care. That's a Fact.

You can engage in ad homs, shouting, straw-man arguments, arm waving, and character assassination until the cows come home, but you won't change reality. It is what it it.

You (and I) are, also, paying for a whole lot of Ineffective treatment. If you would take a little time out from parroting straw men, and irrelevent anecdotes to do a little research into the vast amount of money we're wasting every time a person with a serious, but "not immediately life-threatening health condition" goes into an Emergency Room you wouldn't be so crazy for the status quo.

At 10/24/2011 11:43 AM, Blogger Icare said...

I am a Canadian nurse who had to leave to the Mayo Clinic for treatment. Not out of choice but to save my live. After a delayed wait for diagnostic and a false negative including 3 missed tumours my faith in our system changed.
If I knew I could leave to seek testing or treatment, I would have left sooner. I meet other Canadians not wealthy who begged, borrowed and whatever to get treatment. To make being ALIVE is an option is a good choice. That is why I started my blog to help Canadians be informed. Knowledge is power. I sponsored a symposium with 8 hospitals and there is still a lack of initiative. A leading ER specialist in US is providing PRO BONO pilot project to have wait times in ER from "door to doc" in 9 mins but the Health Ministry does not know what to do due to the fact it is free. Only when patients speak up no matter where can change happen-

At 1/02/2012 9:24 AM, Blogger Craig Casey said...

Socialized Medicine is pathetic, what government starts out doing is an outrageously priced feel good program, that does not deliver.


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