Canadian Healthcare: It’s all about the Wait, Eh!

With the advent of the 112th US Congress at hand and its presumed focus on that distended extravaganza called Obamacare, I thought it would be interesting to see how our Canadian cousins in the Land of the Enlightened Proletariat were getting along up there in universal healthcare heaven.  For as any card-carrying progressive will tell you, it is so reassuring to have a governmental bureaucracy as a glorified babysitter for all the meathead masses.  Ah, the joy of being protected by a paternalistic, paper-ridden, punch-clock pomposity serving as our primary care puppeteer! A progressive paradise, indeed!

But could there be a serpent or two slithering through this glorious Garden of Eden?  The Fraser Institute released its latest survey examining patient Wait Times for the Canadian healthcare system.  The survey researched how long patients had to wait to get an appointment with a specialist and then how long they had to wait to actually have a procedure or surgery performed.  The survey, which has been tracking Canadian Wait Times for the past 20 years, also broke down Wait Times by specialty/procedure and by location/province.

Here are some of the eye-opening highlights from the Fraser Institute’s 2010 survey:

-The average Wait Time to get an appointment with a specialist in Canada was 8.9 weeks.  Patients then had to wait an additional 9.3 weeks on top of that to actually receive any treatment. A grand total Wait Time of 18.2 weeks.

For those unlucky souls who lived on Prince Edward Island, the total Wait Time was 44.4 weeks! And following close behind the Land of Green Gables was New Brunswick with a Wait Time of 33.6 weeks and Nova Scotia with a Wait Time of 28.5 weeks.

Wait Times also varied dramatically by specialty. The longest Wait Time was for Orthopedic Surgery where patients needing joint replacements and other bone-cracking procedures waited a total of 35.6 weeks.  Plastic Surgery patients waited 31.5 weeks and Neurosurgery patients waited 29.7 weeks.  Gee, I guess Canadian brain tumors are all benign.  No rush, no hurry.

-Let’s not forget those laboratory and technical tests that need to be performed.  Canadians waited 4.5 weeks for an Ultrasound and 9.8 weeks for an MRI.  But for those patients living in Quebec, the wait for an Ultrasound was twice as long at 8 weeks.  And in British Columbia, getting an MRI took a wait period of 16 weeks.


Well, based on the above statistics, I’m sure glad I didn’t break my wrist in Canada—I might still be waiting to see the orthopedic surgeon.  Down under here in the backwoods of civilization, it took just 6 days for me to get a referral, see the specialist, schedule the surgery, take all the tests, and undergo the procedure.  Not bad.

And the old saying that time is money is more than just an out-dated adage of our ancestors. The cumulative total lost economic output that represents the cost of waiting for treatment for joint replacement surgery, cataract surgery, coronary bypass surgery, and MRI scans in Canada was an estimated $14.8 billion.

Can you imagine being on a waiting list for coronary bypass surgery, praying each day that you don’t have a fatal heart attack as you queue up for Canada’s only legal source of healthcare sustenance?

Only fools and progressives would push for a healthcare model like this that reduces healthcare delivery systems to a Third World standard of effectiveness.  My god, you can get much better and faster care in Singapore!

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Home of the PushBack Patriot
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