OTTAWA, June 19, 2012 /CNW/ - The absence of a concerted national effort
to reduce wait times is undermining progress on addressing the time
lags endured by Canadians needing medical care, warns the Wait Time
"After making progress in recent years, at least against government
benchmarks, it now appears some provinces are being left behind in the
battle to reduce the time patients wait for health care," said Dr.
Chris Simpson, a cardiologist in Kingston, Ont., and chair of the WTA.
"There should be no 'have not' patients in Canada."
The 2012 WTA report card, entitled "Shedding Light on Canadians' Total
Wait for Care," (http://www.waittimealliance.ca) gives Canadians a picture of how long they have to wait to access a
broad range of medical procedures and services. In a reversal from past
years, the 2012 Report Card shows a decline in performance for patients
receiving care in the five areas identified as priorities by federal,
provincial and territorial governments under the 2004 Health Accord.
The Report Card also highlights the total wait that patients can face to
receive care. Most efforts to date in Canada have been directed at
improving the wait between the specialist consultation and the start of
treatment. But many Canadians are also waiting to see their family
physician; obtain medical tests; and be seen by a specialist.
"Waiting for specialist treatment is really just the tip of the iceberg,
and when you add up all of the waiting periods endured by patients, the
total wait for care can be very lengthy," said Dr. Simpson.
The Report Card also found that while provinces are increasing the
number of procedures for which they publicly report wait times, there
remains little reporting on most of the procedures identified as
priorities by the WTA.
"The WTA is pleased that some provinces are expanding the scope and
breadth of their monitoring and reporting, but there is much more work
to do," added Dr. Simpson. "There remains a disturbing dearth of wait
time reporting on a wide variety of health care services."
The 2012 WTA Report Card reaffirmed the 2011 finding that
alternate-levels-of-care patients - those in hospital who should
ideally be receiving care elsewhere - threaten to overwhelm the health
care system. The establishment of a national dementia strategy is
critical to addressing the rising tide of patients with Alzheimer's
disease and other dementia-related conditions, many of whom end up in
emergency departments and subsequently admitted to hospital. These
admissions are often preventable.
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 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 Medical Association, the Canadian Ophthalmological Society,
the Canadian Orthopaedic Association, the Canadian Psychiatric
Association, the Canadian Society of Plastic Surgeons and the Society
of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada.
SOURCE Wait Time Alliance
For further information:
Lucie Boileau, Canadian Medical Association
Telephone : 613-731-8610 / 800-663-7336 ext. 1266
Cell.: 613 447-0866 / firstname.lastname@example.org