Fraser surveyed specialist physicians across 12 specialties and 10 provinces reported an average total wait time of 19 weeks between the time a general practitioner refers a patient and the time a specialist provides elective treatment — the longest they have ever recorded and a 104 percent increase from wait times in 1993.
“People are suffering. People are waiting too long,” said Gilbert. “This should not happen. No matter how good your surgery is, no matter how good your chemotherapy is, if you delay the surgery there could be a problem. The cancer grows. The cancer spreads.”
Most patients are getting surgery within three months, according to Sabbah, but he added that it is rare for a doctor to have wait lists under four weeks. Oncology still remains a “bottleneck” due to budget deficits and shortages of staff and equipment.
“Funding is not the problem: Canada’s health care system is one of the developed world’s most expensive universal access health care systems,” Esmail said. “Yet, Canadians endure some of the longest waits for medical care in the developed world.”
“Canada’s government-dominated approach to health care is failing those stricken with illness,” he concluded.
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