Doctor Complains Of 4.5-Year Wait Time For Canadian Medicare Patient

REUTERS/Mike Blake

David Krayden Ottawa Bureau Chief
Font Size:

Canadian doctor Joy Hataley says wait times in Canada’s single-payer Medicare program are “insane.” The Ontario doctor just referred one patient to see a neurologist at the Kingston General Hospital and was told there was a 4.5 year wait.

“This is an alarm bell,” Hataley told CTV News. “What it is to me is a red flag to the system.”

Hataley was directed to try for better odds at a Toronto or Ottawa hospital. The physician, who has criticized the wait times in Canadian medicare in the past, tweeted the photo on Wednesday to Ontario Health Minister Eric Hoskins and her local member of the provincial Parliament.

Independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who advocates Canadian-style socialized medicine for the U.S., was in Toronto last weekend to laud Canada’s health care because it was so “innovative.” He didn’t talk about wait times.

But Hataley says wait times are a chronic issue with Canadian Medicare and she frequently receives feedback from patients who are told it will take two years or longer to see a specialist.

“We’ve hit the wall,” Dr. Hataley said. “My main message is: we need timely, consistent and reliable health care in our province and we do not have it.”

The Fraser Institute has recently issued two reports that together comprise a serious indictment of Canadian health care. The conservative think tank says 63,000 Canadians left the country in 2016 to seek medical treatment — largely due to long wait times. The second study revealed that single-payer health care is far from “free” but costs the average Canadian family over $12,000 in taxes.

Follow David on Twitter