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Canadians waiting longer for surgery, report finds

Toronto, 16/11/11 - St. Michael's staff in Toronto, Ontario Canada take part in a simulation of a surgery in a pandemic situation with standards set by the CSA Standards following the introduction of a new national standard to help hospitals and other health care facilities reduce infections, plan for pandemics.

Deborah Baic/The Globe and Mail/Deborah Baic/The Globe and Mail

A report released today indicates Ontario has the shortest total wait time for surgery among the provinces.

The Fraser Institute report says the wait between referral by a general practitioner and receiving treatment is 14.3 weeks in Ontario.

But the report notes that's up from 14 weeks in 2010.

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Ontario had the shortest wait times between referral by a general practitioner and consultation with a specialist at 7.2 weeks, and between specialist consultation and treatment at 7.1 weeks.

The report says the median wait time for Canadians seeking surgical or other therapeutic treatment was 19 weeks in 2011, the longest wait time since 1993.

The report calculates that, in 2011, the average wait for an appointment with a specialist after being referred by a general practitioner was 156 per cent longer than in 1993.

"Canadians are being forced to wait almost 4 1 / 2 months, on average, to receive surgical care, prolonging the pain and suffering patients and their families are forced to endure," said Mark Rovere, a co-author of the report.

"Despite significant increases in government health spending, Canadians are still waiting too long to access medically necessary treatment," Mr. Rovere said.

Among the various specialties, the shortest total wait was for medical oncology at 4.2 weeks, while the wait for plastic surgery was longest at 41.6 weeks.

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