People in B.C. wait an average of more than 26 weeks for medical treatment, continuing an upwards trend in the healthcare system, according to a Fraser Institute report.
The think tank released its latest study on wait times Thursday, saying the median wait times across the country this year was 21.2 weeks – the longest ever recorded in its two decades of tracking.
For the fifth year in a row, B.C. saw an increase in wait times and is still higher than the national median of 26.2 weeks.
Last year, wait times were about 25 weeks in the province. In 1993, they were 12 weeks.
New Brunswick saw the longest average at almost 42 weeks, while Ontario boasts the shortest of 15.
Among the various specialties, national wait times were longest for orthopaedic surgery at 41.7 weeks, and neurosurgery at 32.9 weeks. The shortest wait for a patient was for medical oncology, at about three weeks.
“Long wait times are not a trivial matter — they can increase suffering for patients, decrease quality of life, and in the worst cases, lead to disability or death,” study author Bacchus Barua said in a statement.
“It’s time for policymakers to consider reforming the outdated policies that continue to contribute to long wait times in Canada.”