Medical Wait Times Canada

June 4, 2014 by  

Medical Wait Times Canada, Finally we know the truth. Canadians have to wait longer in hospital emergency departments than people in other countries with publicly funded health-care systems, according to a new report.

Canada, with a public health system regarded as a model by US advocates of universal healthcare, has long wait times for patients in emergency rooms, a report says.

The annual report by the Wait Time Alliance, a doctors’ advocacy group, says Canada lags behind other countries with publicly-funded healthcare systems. According to the group, 27 percent of Canadians reported waiting four or more hours in hospital emergency departments, compared to the Netherlands’ 1 percent and the United Kingdom’s 5 percent.

The alliance’s annual report card, called “Time to close the gap”, said, “It is not right to force Canadians to wait two or three times longer for necessary medical care than citizens of other countries that also have universal publicly funded health systems,” the report’s authors said. “Furthermore, as seen in many other countries with universal health systems, it is indeed possible to have timely access to medical care – long waits are not an unavoidable price to pay nor are they tolerated by their citizenry.”

The alliance called for a patients’ charter of rights and responsibilities that includes wait-time guarantees, such as to access a member of their primary-care team, like a family doctor or nurse practitioner, within 48 hours. England and Scotland have wait time charters, while Finland and Denmark have enforceable patient wait-time guarantees.

The report pointed out that the while the patient waits, his health deteriorates, while economic costs to individuals and society from lost productivity and lost tax revenue mount.

The health-care system also ends up with more costs, such as on drugs to manage pain or tests to monitor patients while they wait, a time when complications can occur.

It is worse for senior patients who have dementia and other chronic health conditions, who are in hospital beds while they wait for a place in residential facility. This is because the number of beds may not be enough or may be blocked for budget reasons.

In other countries that have succeeded in reducing wait times, governments made it a priority to achieve benchmarks and health-care providers are strongly engaged.

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