Medical Tuesday Blog

Long Queues for necessary surgery costs Canadians $1304 per patient

Apr 1

Written by: Del Meyer
04/01/2016 12:07 PM 

The Private Cost of Public Queues for Medically Necessary Care, 2016 finds that long waits for surgery and medical treatment cost Canadians almost $1.2 billion—or $1,304 per patient—in lost income and productivity.  Read more . . .

The study, The Private Cost of Public Queues for Medically Necessary Care, calculates the average personal cost of time lost during the work week in Canada last year for each of the estimated 894,449 patients waiting for treatments, which include orthopedic surgery, neurosurgery and urology, for example.

“In addition to the physical and psychological pain and suffering Canadians endure while waiting for medically necessary treatment, they often lose valuable time, either in lost income from not working, lower productivity, or less time with friends and family,” said Bacchus Barua, study co- author and senior economist in the Fraser Institute’s Centre for Health Policy Studies.

When calculations are extended to include hours outside the traditional work week — evenings and weekends — the estimated cost of waiting jumps from $1.17 billion to $3.53 billion, or about $3,951 per patient.

The study draws upon data from the Fraser Institute’s Waiting Your Turn study, an annual survey of Canadian physicians who, in 2015, reported an average median wait time from specialist appointment to treatment of 9.8 weeks — almost three weeks longer than what physicians consider clinically reasonable.

“Unless policymakers respond to Canada’s long wait times with genuine reform, Canadian patients will continue to suffer undue loss of income and quality of life,” Barua said.

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Canadian Medicare does not give timely access to healthcare, it only gives access to a waiting list.

–Canadian Supreme Court Decision 2005 SCC 35, [2005] 1 S.C.R. 791

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