Patients in B.C. wait up to 23.2 weeks for medically necessary treatments. (Dreamstime)

Patients in B.C. wait up to 23.2 weeks for medically necessary treatments. (Dreamstime)

B.C. has the longest healthcare wait times in Canada: report

Median patient wait times are 23.2 weeks in the province, compared to 19.8 nationwide

Patients in B.C. have to wait nearly a month longer for healthcare than all other Canadians, a new study suggests.

The Fraser Institute report said Tuesday the median wait time for “medically necessary treatments” in B.C. was 23.2 weeks, compared to 19.8 weeks for the rest of the country.

That was down from an all-time high of 26.2 weeks in 2017, but more than double what it was 25 years ago.

READ MORE: B.C. launches ‘team based’ care to cut down on wait times

The conservative think tank measured the time between being seen by a general practitioner to getting treatment.

In B.C., 9.1 weeks were spent getting from a general practitioner to a specialist, and 14.1 weeks were spent waiting for treatment.

READ MORE: Medical wait times cost B.C. patients $2,300 each

The Maritimes had the highest median wait times for all medically needed procedures, at 45.1 weeks in New Brunswick, 39.8 on Prince Edward Island and 34.4 in Nova Scotia.

The lowest times were 15.4 weeks in Saskatchewan and 15.7 weeks in Ontario.

Canada-wide, the longest waits were for orthopaedic surgery at 39 weeks, with plastic surgery, ophthalmology and neurosurgery all next in the high 20s.

Specialists told researchers that only urgent cardiovascular surgery and radiation oncology patients were waiting for a “median clinically reasonable” amount of time.

The biggest difference was found in orthopaedic surgery, where patients waited more than double the “reasonable” wait time of 13.5 weeks.

Waiting for a diagnosis

Before they even get treatment, the report also found British Columbians wait longer than other Canadians for certain diagnostic scans.

In 2018, patients in B.C. had to wait 20 weeks for an MRI, compared to 10.6 weeks nationwide.

READ MORE: B.C. government to increase access to MRI exams

They waited six weeks for CT scans – 1.7 weeks above the national average.

However, at a four-week wait for ultrasounds, they were just one week behind the rest of the country.


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The wind has been gusting Friday, March 5 in Williams Lake with the risk of a thunderstorm in the forecast for later in the afternoon. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
More than 500 customers in Cariboo without power, risk of thunderstorm Friday afternoon

The BC Hydro map is adding more power outages as the afternoon unfolds

The two suspects arrested south of 150 Mile House Tuesday, March 2, following a high-speed chase with the RCMP have been charged. (Will Roberts photo)
High-speed chase suspects charged, remain in custody after arrest south of Williams Lake

John Craig and Maggie M. Higgott appeared in Williams Lake Provincial Court March 4

Interior Health reported 33 new COVID-19 cases on March 5. (Black Press Files)
Interior Health reports 33 new COVID-19 cases on March 5

Over 300,000 vaccine doses have been administered provincewide.

Many members of the Williams Lake Cross Country Ski Club (pictured) have teamed up with the Cariboo Chilcotin Conservation Society to host a free ski in celebration of World Water Day. (Patrick Davies photo - Black Press Media)
Conservation society, cross country ski club, celebrate World Water Day with free ski March 6

The free ski will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, March 6 at Bull Mountain

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C. on the COVID-19 situation. (B.C. government)
Dr. Bonnie Henry predicts a ‘post-pandemic world’ for B.C. this summer

‘Extending this second dose provides very high real-world protection to more people, sooner’

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Malawian police guard AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines after the shipment arrived in Lilongwe, Malawi, Friday March 5, 2021. Canada is expecting its first shipments of AstraZeneca vaccine next week. (Associated Press/Thoko Chikondi)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 cases climb to 634 Friday, four more deaths

Currently 255 people in hospital, 66 in intensive care

A crashed helicopter is seen near Mt. Gardner on Bowen Island on Friday March 5, 2021. Two people were taken to hospital in serious but stable condition after the crash. (Irene Paulus/contributed)
2 people in serious condition after helicopter goes down on Bowen Island

Unclear how many passengers aboard and unclear where the helicopter was going

Surrey Pretrial in Newton. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
B.C. transgender inmate to get human rights hearing after being held in mostly male jail

B.C. Human Rights Tribunal member Amber Prince on March 3 dismissed the pretrial’s application to have Makayla Sandve’s complaint dismissed

Supporters rally outside court as Pastor James Coates of GraceLife Church is in court to appeal bail conditions, after he was arrested for holding day services in violation of COVID-19 rules, in Edmonton, Alta., on Thursday March 4, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
‘Law remains valid:’ Pastor accused of violating health orders to remain in jail

The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms is representing the pastor

The Netflix logo on an iPhone. B.C. delayed imposing sales tax on digital services and sweetened carbonated beverages as part of its response to COVID-19. Those taxes take effect April 1, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Matt Rourke
B.C. applies 7% sales tax on streaming, vaping, sweet drinks April 1

Measures from 2020 budget were delayed due to COVID-19

Chief Don Tom of the Tsartlip First Nation was outraged after Green MLA Adam Olsen revealed on social media that the community had been experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak – a fact the First Nation had chosen to keep private to avoid racist backlash as experienced by the Cowichan Tribes when an outbreak was declared there in January. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. First Nation ‘outraged’ after Green MLA reveals COVID-19 outbreak

Tsartlip First Nation chief shares concerns about racist backlash, MLA apologizes

A lawyer wears a face mask and gloves to curb the spread of COVID-19 while waiting to enter B.C. Supreme Court, in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, Aug. 28, 2020. British Columbia’s highest court has sided with the land owner in a dispute over public access to public land. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. high court finds in favour of large landowner in fight over access to pair of lakes

The Nicola Valley Fish and Game Club launched legal action after the cattle company blocked road and trail access

Most Read