The median wait time for medically necessary treatment in Canada this year was 19.8 weeks, finds a new study released today by the Fraser Institute, an independent, non -partisan Canadian public policy think -tank.
Saskatchewan patients have the shortest total wait times in the country to see a specialist.
The median wait time for Saskatchewan patients receiving specialist services was estimated at 15.4 weeks. The longest median waits were in New Brunswick estimated at 45.1 weeks. Saskatchewan was one of only two provinces that did not show an increase in the number of procedures that patients are waiting for.
In 1993, when the Fraser Institute first reported national wait times for medically necessary elective treatments, Canadian patients waited just 9.3 weeks . The study examines the total wait time patients face across 12 medical specialties — from referral by a general practitioner (i.e. family doctor) to consultation with a specialist, to when the patient ultimately receives treatment.
The survey shows Saskatchewan patients also have the shortest waits for specialist consultations after referral by a family doctor (6.3 weeks), compared to the longest waits in New Brunswick (28.5 weeks). The survey also noted Saskatchewan had the shortest waits for CT scans (2.8 weeks) and ultrasounds (1.1 weeks).
The longest waits for specialist consultations are found in New Brunswick (28.5 weeks), Prince Edward Island (23.9 weeks), and Nova Scotia (16.9 weeks).
The shortest specialist-to-treatment waits are found in Ontario (8.3 weeks), Quebec (9.1 weeks), and Saskatchewan (9.2 weeks), while the longest are in Manitoba (19.7 weeks), Nova Scotia (17.5 weeks), and New Brunswick (16.6 weeks).
Nationally, wait times were longest for orthopedic surgery (39.0 weeks) and plastic surgery (28.5 weeks) and the shortest for medical oncology (3.8 weeks) .
The report also finds that an estimated 1.6% of patients received elective treatment in another country during 2017/18. Physicians also report that only about 12.1% of their patients are on a waiting list because they requested a delay or postponement, and that 43.9% would agree to have their procedure performed within a week if an opening arose.