Canadian Health Care Wait Times

by John McClaughry

My friend Sally Pipes at the Pacific Research Institute, born and raised in Canada,   reported recently on the wait times in Canada’s single payer health system. “Canadian patients”, she says, “waited a record 21.2 weeks to receive treatment from a specialist after being referred by their general practitioner in 2017, according to the latest survey of wait times by the Fraser Institute, a Vancouver-based think tank. That’s a week longer than last year — and more than double the corresponding figure from 1993, when Fraser began keeping track.”

She continued, “Patients with complex medical needs languished even longer. Those in need of neurosurgery, for instance, faced a median wait of nearly 33 weeks. For orthopedic surgery, wait times exceeded 41 weeks.”

“Rural Canadians faced similar delays. The median wait time for specialist treatment in New Brunswick was almost 42 weeks. In Nova Scotia, it was nearly 38 weeks. And on Prince Edward Island, over 32 weeks. While months-long delays are routine in the Canadian system, years-long waits are not unprecedented. One Ontario patient was recently asked to wait four-and-a-half years to see a neurologist.”

Now why do you suppose single payer health care features these shocking long waiting times? It’s because Canada found a logical and effective way to hold down health spending. Limit the number of doctors. Limit the number of clinics and hospital beds. Hey, nonexistent doctors and hospitals don’t send bills to the government. Brilliant!

John McClaughry is vice president of the Ethan Allen Institute

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Mary F Daly February 16, 2018 at 12:55 pm

I was an Occupational Health Nurse in the early 90’s here in Vermont. There were times I was referred a work injured patient from Canada. One time it was a gentleman from north of Montreal with back pain. My task was to get him an appointment in Burlington with a Neurosurgeon so he could get treatment in a timely fashion. His Dad often drove him down to Burlington for his appointments. One time his wife drove him so his Dad wouldn’t miss an eye appointment and have to wait at least a year for another appointment. Socialized medicine is not what you might think it is. It is okay if you don’t have any medical problems but Iit is a nightmare if you do.

Reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post:

About Us

The Ethan Allen Institute is Vermont’s free-market public policy research and education organization. Founded in 1993, we are one of fifty-plus similar but independent state-level, public policy organizations around the country which exchange ideas and information through the State Policy Network.
Read more...

Latest News

An AP Climate Story

March 15, 2019 by John McClaughry Here’s an interesting story from Associated Press, dated June 29, 1989: “A senior U.N. environmental official says entire nations could be wiped...

Join Us! For EAI’s 25th Jefferson Day Dinner

Tuesday, April 9th At Trader Duke’s, 1311 Williston Road, South Burlington 5:30 pm social hour. Dinner & Program 6:30 pm. Click Here to Order Your Tickets Online “Jefferson, the...

So, We Can Stop Pretending Pre-K Is “For the Kids.”

March 12, 2019 by Rob Roper When the state started to ramp up its government-funded, government-run pre-k programs in 2005-2006, the rhetoric was all about how great this...

EAI’s Carbon Tax Stance Attacked By National Organization

March 8, 2019 By David Flemming Some folks are getting anxious that “progress” on passing carbon taxes at the state level has stalled nationwide. Media Matters, a nationwide...

Roll Call! Senate Votes To Commercialize Marijuana (23-5)

S.54 – AN ACT RELATING TO THE REGULATION OF CANNABIS PASSED in the State Senate on February 28, 2019 by a vote of 23-5 . Purpose: To create a regulatory system...

Video