Friday, May 22nd, 2015

Survey: Long Wait Times in Canadian Health Care


Canadian patients wait on lists for appointments with specialists, diagnostic tests, treatments, and surgeries. Over the years, government has spent billions of dollars on special initiatives and projects directed at reducing wait times. In 2004, federal, provincial and territorial governments agreed to set benchmarks for wait times. Since then, results indicate that many Canadian patients are still waiting too long for access to medical care.



16 Responses to “Survey: Long Wait Times in Canadian Health Care”
  1. RN says:

    Thank you for providing an independent place for Canadians to share their voice – the best Christmas gift ever!

    Keep up the excellent work!

  2. Linda says:

    I agree with RN… It’s good to have a place to share voices. Thank you for this.

    It’s hard to watch a loved one housebound in constant pain because of waiting times. The frustrating part is that we’re afraid to say anything because there is the fear that if we tip the apple cart, the waiting time might get longer. It’s a very helpless feeling.

  3. Sarah says:

    Our healthcare system is supposed to be one of the best in the world, and with a little work it can be. I was a health care provider for many years and now I am chronically ill.
    There was a time where I needed a vital expensive medication to help me get as well as I can be, however the physicians in my province decided that it would not work. After a lot of research, I found that it was my last hope. I traveled to another province for a second opinion. Unfortunately, it seems that for me it was impossible to get a second opinion, as the physician knew what the physicians in my province were saying and told me that there was nothing they were able to do.
    I was lucky enough to get a consultation in the US from an impartial party. The recommendation was to give me the medication I required and watch to see if it worked. Well it did work, and I am doing as well as possible. My life was saved.

    • admin says:

      Thanks for sharing your story. Provincial governments in partnership with physicians are always trying to contain costs in our public health care system which means that many Canadian patients are forced to leave the country to access medical care. Your story shows how important it is to get a medical opinion from an impartial party, even if it means leaving the country to get it.

  4. Malek says:

    Canadian Health System is one of the worst in the world: waiting more than 8 hours at emergency.
    In Ontario they are more than 50000 patients/ doctor if you are lucky to have one; I do not have, I’m a newcomer and it’s no way to have one (they are useless anyway). Stupid system!
    How come Canada is in the 30th place in the world, that’s a joke it supposed to be somewhere on the very bottom.

  5. Debbie Waitkus says:

    I am a nurse working with transitioning seniors from hospital to home and am very concerned by the waitlists they face for everything from healthcare services to home care services to nursing care homes. My concern has gone to a whole new level since the waiting has affected me personally – google “no more waiting for walid” on u-tube. I have started doing research around the waitlist phenomena in Canada and what I have discovered is that the waitlists have been with us for a long time, growing in length and intensity. Canadians have gotten so used to saying yes to waiting, yes to putting their lives on hold; it is time to say no more waiting. We now have huge bureacratic costs to manage waitlists and even a growing public relations machince to convince us that although waiting is not ideal it is acceptable. I have also discovered “zillions” of dollars has gone into groups advocating for change and I am overwhelmed that inspite of all their hard work waitlists are growing. The hardest thing to accept is the apathy that has developed in our nation. Many people from reporters to politicians, doctors to friends/neighbours ask me whether my son’s case is really “urgent”. In all my reflections I believe the solutions will come when every person realizes they have a role to play … health is not everything but without it nothing else matters. Waitlists have created a huge mess and a healthcare system that often provides increased illness rather than healing. We need radical change and a new vision. We cannot rely on government to “fix it. We all need to recognize that we all have a role to play … as individuals how we care for ourselves and each other, as communities what can we do at a grassroots level to promote healthy living, as healthcare professionals where can advocacy bring awareness to improve outcomes for patients and challenge the system that has become wasteful and inefficient and finally to government to lead with a renewed commitment to service with a goal of health for all recognizing and promoting that sarifices will be needed but will result in huge dividends for Canadians.

    • admin says:

      Well said. You’re right, it is time for Canadians to say “No more waiting”. Many patients and their families fear they will be denied care if they speak out about our health care system. Thank you for breaking the waiting list silence.

      • Jackie Favel says:

        My husband died waiting for them to get an IV into him for antibiotics. I wish a lawyer is brave enough to take this case on with me to sue the Rocky View Hospital in Calgary Alberta for killing my husband, just because of having to wait.

  6. Linda says:

    The healthcare system is so bad here, our family is considering leaving Canada so our 9 year old daughter can receive the proper care she deserves. My daughter has multiple diagnoses (Developmental Coordination Disorder, ADHD, and Auditory Processing Disorder) it took 4 years to get a diagnosis of DCD, 6 years to get a diagnosis of ADHD and 9 years to get a diagnosis of Auditory Processing Disorder. She struggles in every area of her life – socially, academically – but she was not diagnosed with autism; therefore, we have had no funding for the occupational therapy and speech therapy she needs and I have had to fight to get her help in school. Every time we want to see her pediatrician we have to wait 3-6 months, a referral to the ADHD clinic results in an 8 month wait. The fastest help I got was when she became suicidal from a medication her pediatrician put her on. I wasn’t allowed to speak to her pediatrician without an appointment and ended up having to call 911. Through a crisis centre, she is now able to see a psychiatrist who squeezes her in on his lunch hour. When she was 8, she came down with a skin and eye infection that was misdiagnosed 3 times. Over a period of 10 days, I had to take her to the doctor 4 times to see 3 different doctors, and we had go to the emergency for 4 hours before she anyone would take a skin swab. By the time she was diagnosed it was too late to treat the infection. Luckily, the infection did not damage her eye; however she now has a large scar between her eyebrows that would not have occurred if the infection had been properly diagnosed and treated with the first visit. I fear for the children and for the seniors in this country – they do not receive the healthcare they need and deserve!

  7. Monika says:

    I am in my early 60ties, working full time, and I was diagnosed with thyroid nodule, which has grown over 4 months, as have my neck lymph nodes. That finally explained my chronic cough (over 1 year) and pains.
    I have had to wait only 6 weeks for the specialist appointment, but now I have to wait 3 month for the biopsy, to live on a rollercoaster of hope and depression.
    When I called an endocrinologist in US, I got an appointment for a biopsy in a month. I have a modest income, but I will pay for that. Is this what Canadians have to do?

    • admin says:

      Yes, this is what Canadians have to do under a government monopolized, single-payer system. They have to leave the country in order to exercise their freedom of choice in accessing medical services. It’s unacceptable that you should have to wait three months on a list for a biopsy to determine whether or not your condition is life threatening. By the time you receive the biopsy in Canada your treatment options may be limited. It’s unfortunate that Canadians are not free to spend their own money on their own health care within their own country.

  8. Lee Kurisko says:

    Health care in Canada cannot be disparaged enough! It is absolutely a disgrace. My father has a medical problem that I anticipate would have taken 2 to 3 years to diagnose in Canada. Having worked as a physician in both the US and Canada, I know that this is how long it would have taken to get the necessary diagnostic tests and consultations for the type of problem he has. He was visiting me this week in the US and we got everything dealt with in one day!!!!

    • Kartik says:

      If you don’t mind me asking, what illness did he have? I hear you about wait times… access can NEVER be based on need… I live in Canada and many snidely say ‘Despite it’s flaws, at least we’re better than the States’ – considering OHIP pays millions yearly for medical care received in the US, I question that.. Both countries suffer from the same root illness.

  9. Helen Taylor says:

    Canada comes in 30th in the world for Health Care. Most countries with lower rankings have a combination of Public and Private Health Care. Seniors are valued in these countries.

    Private Hospitals for Joint Replacement and Cataract surgery would be welcomed by many Seniors who suffer the long waits for consultation with Surgeons. Many have saved their entire lives to ensure a comfortable retirement only to be held hostage by the public health care system. Most do not have connections to get direct access and are well beyond being called “athletes”.
    Tomorrow’s seniors are being called the “Silver Tsunami” and will not accept the lame excuses and political mumbo jumbo being spouted today. The voting booths will reflect the need for faster and more efficient health care of our Canadian seniors.

  10. Bev says:

    You are correct about patients being denied care if they speak out!

    Personally, I have found several conditions that I had questioned my ‘doctors’ about are actually in my medical files as being diagnosed! So, due to my asking pertinent and knowledgeable questions, I was being denied treatment and also being systematically ‘blackballed’ by other physicians for being so persistent that there was something wrong. Proof of this was found after requesting access under PHIA, although I was not given all of my documents and some were ‘destroyed’ well in advance of the recommended guidelines for retention. Ombudsman is currently investigating.

    How can people play with the lives of others? This goes directly against what a physician is directed under their medical oaths. Horrifying!

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