OTTAWA, June 3, 2014 /CNW/ - Medical wait times in Canada have improved
since the signing of the 2004 Health Accord, but progress has been
uneven, the Wait Time Alliance (WTA) said in its 2014 Report Card
In fact, with the Accord now dead, Canada should try emulating Scotland,
where medical wait times are effectively a thing of the past, the WTA
added in its annual assessment of wait times for treatment and
diagnosis across Canada.
The WTA Report Card singled out Newfoundland and Labrador, Ontario and
Saskatchewan as provinces that have made or are beginning to make
"substantive and sustained progress" in reducing wait times. But other
provinces continue to struggle to make any sustained improvements.
Also of concern, the WTA said, is the significant variation in wait
times within provinces and even within communities. "How long you wait
for treatment has a lot to do with your postal code," said Dr. Chris
Simpson, WTA Chair.
Video for media use:
Dr. Chris Simpson, Chair of the WTA, has recorded answers to five
questions on the 2014 Report Card. These high definition videos are
available for download at: www.skyflyproductions.com/WTA-ATA
By contrast, wait times in Scotland have been virtually eliminated.
Scotland has a patients' charter of rights and responsibilities that
includes wait time guarantees. The WTA urges governments in Canada to
implement a charter on rights and responsibilities with targets and
enforcement of maximum wait time guarantees.
"Imagine a land where . . . 90% of patients are seen within four hours
in the emergency department," the WTA noted. "This land already exists
It is simply not right to force Canadians to wait two to three times
longer for necessary medical care than citizens of other countries,
according to the WTA, a coalition of 18 physician groups, including the
Canadian Medical Association (CMA).
"Excessive wait times are not the price Canadians must pay for universal
health care, despite what some would have us believe,'' said Dr.
Simpson, who is also president-elect of the CMA. "Long wait times are a
symptom of poor systemic performance or poor coordination between
According to Dr. Simpson, a lack of safe and affordable housing for
seniors will spill over into a shortage of acute care hospital beds. In
other words the system will back up the same way an airport does.
"Let's be very clear here, this is not a case of just throwing new
money at an old problem. It is a matter of new thinking and accountable
performance," Dr. Simpson concluded.
The Wait Time Alliance (WTA) is a partnership comprised of the Canadian
Anesthesiologists' Society, the Canadian Association of Emergency
Physicians, the Canadian Association of Gastroenterology, the Canadian
Association of General Surgeons, the Canadian Association of Nuclear
Medicine, the Canadian Association of Paediatric Surgeons, the Canadian
Association of Radiation Oncology, the Canadian Association of
Radiologists, the Canadian Cardiovascular Society, the Canadian
Geriatrics Society, the Canadian Medical Association, the Canadian
Ophthalmological Society, the Canadian Orthopaedic Association, the
Canadian Psychiatric Association, the Canadian Rheumatology
Association, the Canadian Society of Plastic Surgeons, the College of
Family Physicians of Canada, and the Society of Obstetricians and
Gynaecologists of Canada.
SOURCE: Wait Time Alliance
For further information:
Video for media use:
Dr. Chris Simpson, Chair of the WTA, has recorded answers to five questions on the 2014 Report Card. These high definition videos are available for download at:
For more information:
Lucie Boileau, Canadian Medical Association
Telephone : 613-731-8610 / 800-663-7336 ext. 1266
Cell.: 613 447-0866