Tuesday, October 24, 2006

How does your area rank?

It seems that Healthcare is a major issue here in Canada. Of course, it is in my work as well. Here is a current report as from CBC.ca.

Hospital waits shortest in Ont., longest in N.B.: report
Tue Oct 24, 1:50 PM

Canada-wide waiting times for surgical and other therapeutic treatments increased slightly in 2006, a new survey suggests. The right-wing think tank the Fraser Institute released its 16th annual rating of wait times for 12 specialties on Tuesday.
The average total waiting time for Canadian patients between referral from a general practitioner and treatment averaged 17.8 weeks this year, up slightly from 17.7 weeks in 2005. Seven provinces saw increases while wait times decreased in Alberta, Ontario, and Newfoundland and Labrador.
Ontario's average wait was 14.9 weeks, compared to 16.3 weeks for second-place Alberta and a high of 31.9 weeks for last-place New Brunswick.
Too many cases that should be handled by family doctors are being passed on to specialists who are being overwhelmed, said New Brunswick's former health minister, Dennis Furlong. Specialists also need better tools and more time in operating room to do their jobs, said Furlong, who runs a family practice in northern N.B.
But Furlong disagreed with the underlying thrust of the Fraser report, saying with all its problems, Canada's publicly-funded system is still one of the top three or four health-care systems in the world.
The next-longest waits were found in Saskatchewan at 28.5 weeks and Prince Edward Island at 25.8 weeks.

Two stages of waiting

Co-author Nadeem Esmail says it's the second-longest average wait time the institute has measured, and Canadians shouldn't expect to see any dramatic improvements as a result of the latest federal-provincial agreements.

The waiting time between seeing a specialist and treatment - the second stage of waiting- fell to 9.0 weeks from 9.4 weeks in 2005. Increases in waiting times in B.C., Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island were offset by decreases in the five other provinces.
Patients waited longest between a GP referral and:

- Orthopedic surgery (40.3 weeks).
- Plastic surgery (35.4 weeks).
- Neurosurgery (31.7 weeks).
The shortest total waits between referral by a general practitioner and treatment occurred in:
- Medical oncology (4.9 weeks).
- Radiation oncology (5.0 weeks).
- Elective cardiovascular surgery (8.0 weeks).
The wait for neurosurgery increased significantly (by 12.9 weeks) over 2005 levels while wait times for otolaryngology (ear, nose and throat procedures) increased by 2.9 weeks, internal medicine by 0.6 weeks, and orthopedic surgery by 0.3 weeks. Wait times improved for patients seeking treatment in:

- Urology (decreased 1.2 weeks).
- Plastic surgery (decreased 0.8 weeks).
- Radiation oncology (decreased 0.7 weeks).
- Medical oncology (decreased 0.6 weeks).
- Gynecology (decreased 0.5 weeks).
- General surgery (decreased 0.3 weeks).
- Elective cardiovascular surgery (decreased 0.3 weeks).
- Ophthalmology (decreased 0.2 weeks).
The median wait for an MRI across Canada was 10.3 weeks. Patients in Ontario and Nova Scotia experienced the shortest wait for an MRI (8.0 weeks), while Newfoundland and Labrador residents waited longest (28.0 weeks).

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