Data Suggests Progress on Health Care Waitlists
- New government data obtained by SecondStreet.org shows the number of patients waiting for surgery and diagnostic scans has dropped in Canada
- Data suggests the backlog to see a specialist is larger than originally thought
CALGARY, AB: SecondStreet.org updated its CanadaWaits.ca website today with the latest government data from Quebec, Ontario, New Brunswick, Saskatchewan and Manitoba on the number of Canadians waiting for health care services. The data, mostly obtained through Freedom of Information (FOI) requests, shows a slight drop in the number of patients waiting for surgery, and a sizable drop in those waiting for diagnostic scans.
“We’re seeing some improvements when it comes to the number of patients waiting for surgery and diagnostic scans,” said SecondStreet.org President Colin Craig. “However, the big question mark is around the number of patients waiting to see a specialist. Six provinces don’t have data on that problem, so it’s difficult to know what’s happening.”
Government data shows there are 2,943,069 waiting for the aforementioned health services. However, as the table below shows, most provinces do not provide complete data. Using figures from provinces that do provide complete data, SecondStreet.org estimates the total number of patients waiting for surgery, a diagnostic scan or appointment with a specialist could be as high as 4.7 million – about one in ten Canadians.
|British Columbia||86,426||–||–||November 10, 2022|
|Alberta||75,483||175,849||93,737||Dec 5, 2022|
|Saskatchewan||34,229||–||17,455||Dec 2022/Jan 2023|
|Ontario||205,460||–||507,807||April 26, 2023|
|Quebec||160,815||836,558||372,509||Jan 28 – Feb 25, 2023|
|New Brunswick||23,416||5,000||42,255||Jan 1-18, 2023|
|Newfoundland||14,485||–||74,984||Sep 30 – Nov 30, 2022|
|Nova Scotia||26,246||28,171||82,834||June 24, 2022|
|Prince Edward Island||–||–||–||July 6, 2022|
|Yukon||729||2,602||2,288||December 8, 2022|
|Northwest Territories||872||9,989||443||Nov 30 – Jan 17|
|Nunavut||1,297||5,018||0||December 8, 2022|
Some more highlights from the data include:
- Quebec – the number of patients waiting for a diagnostic scan dropped from 707,454 to 372,509. The surgical waitlist increased slightly, from 160,684 to 160,815. The number of patients waiting to see a specialist rose significantly – from 793,658 to 836,558.
- New Brunswick – the patients waiting for surgery dropped from 27,249 to 23,416. For the first time, New Brunswick supplied data on patients waiting to see a specialist and to receive a diagnostic scan.
- Ontario – the number of patients waiting for surgery appears to be flat compared with the last public figure released by the government. The diagnostic scan waitlist rose from 496,261 to 507,807.
- Saskatchewan – the number of patients waiting for surgery dropped from 34,316 to 34,229 and the number of patients waiting for diagnostic scans dropped from 19,327 to 17,455.
- Manitoba – the number of patients waiting for surgery dropped from 8,905 to 8,270 and the number of patients waiting for diagnostic scans dropped from 56,296 to 47,482.
“It’s positive to see governments trying many different methods to get patients the care they need,” added Craig. “From funding more surgeries in hospitals to hiring private clinics to provide services to patients, we’re seeing some very positive progress. Manitoba is even sending patients to San Francisco, Cleveland, Vancouver and Toronto.”
“While there is some good in these latest numbers, let’s not forget the millions of patients still waiting for the care they need,” said Craig. “Many of their stories are tragic: people waiting in pain for joint surgery, people unable to see properly because of untreated cataracts. Governments need to implement real health reforms now to help Canadian patients.”
SecondStreet.org routinely updates these figures at CanadaWaits.ca. The site also includes data on the number of Canadians who died on a waiting list, government spending on health care, and average wait times.
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