Patients in B.C. have to wait nearly a month longer for healthcare than all other Canadians, a new study suggests.
The Fraser Institute report said Tuesday the median wait time for “medically necessary treatments” in B.C. was 23.2 weeks, compared to 19.8 weeks for the rest of the country.
The conservative think tank measured the time between being seen by a general practitioner to getting treatment.
In B.C., 9.1 weeks were spent getting from a general practitioner to a specialist, and 14.1 weeks were spent waiting for treatment.
The Maritimes had the highest median wait times for all medically needed procedures, at 45.1 weeks in New Brunswick, 39.8 on Prince Edward Island and 34.4 in Nova Scotia.
The lowest times were 15.4 weeks in Saskatchewan and 15.7 weeks in Ontario.
Canada-wide, the longest waits were for orthopaedic surgery at 39 weeks, with plastic surgery, ophthalmology and neurosurgery all next in the high 20s.
Specialists told researchers that only urgent cardiovascular surgery and radiation oncology patients were waiting for a “median clinically reasonable” amount of time.
The biggest difference was found in orthopaedic surgery, where patients waited more than double the “reasonable” wait time of 13.5 weeks.
Waiting for a diagnosis
Before they even get treatment, the report also found British Columbians wait longer than other Canadians for certain diagnostic scans.
In 2018, patients in B.C. had to wait 20 weeks for an MRI, compared to 10.6 weeks nationwide.
They waited six weeks for CT scans – 1.7 weeks above the national average.
However, at a four-week wait for ultrasounds, they were just one week behind the rest of the country.