Story Tools: PRINT | Text Size: S M L XL | REPORT TYPO | SEND YOUR FEEDBACK

In Depth

Health care

Waiting for access

Last Updated Nov. 29, 2006

MRI at a public hospital in Calgary (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

Long waits for diagnostic tests, access to specialists and some surgeries have long been at the heart of complaints about the failings of Canada's health-care system. Fix that, Roy Romanow concluded in his $15-million report, and Ottawa will go a long way towards satisfying Canadians' concerns about medicare.

Waiting times have made it to the top of the political agenda since the former Saskatchewan premier made his recommendations in the 2002 report on the future of health care. Since then, the federal government has put $5.5 billion into funding to address the problem. Provinces, meanwhile, have been coming up with their own plans and are working toward meeting national standards.

More recently, the Harper government laid out its wait-times guarantee as one of the five key priorities that it wants to usher in during its mandate.

In his report on how to fix medicare, Senator Michael Kirby recommended that the government should pay for out-of-province or out-of-country treatment for patients who don't receive timely care.

Romanow, on the other hand, figured the problem could be handled with a little cash and some organization, and one of his key recommendations was that the provinces should manage wait lists, and set benchmarks and provide patients with wait times they can expect.

Wait times guarantee

It appears that Ottawa and the provinces have heard the advice of both men. The federal government is working at implementing a wait-times guarantee that would be in place by 2008. Health Minister Tony Clement said in August 2006 that patients should expect to receive treatment for procedures within an acceptable time. If this does not happen, he said, the patient would be able to seek "recourse."

So if a patient couldn�t get treatment for, say, a hip-fracture treatment, the recourse would allow the patient to go to "another provider, another facility or another jurisdiction," paid with public funds, to get that treatment. "Recourse should be fair and equitable for all patients," Clement said. This brings to the fore the issue of whether public money will fund treatment at private clinics.

The groundwork for the government to move forward on wait times was set by a health accord signed by the provinces and Ottawa in 2004. It brought an extra $5.5 billion in funding to reduce wait times. Most of that money, $4.5 billion, has already been allocated.

And in that time, many of the provinces have moved to manage wait time, and all of them have agreed to set maximum acceptable wait times for key procedures, which they announced in December 2005.

The national benchmark for these procedures:

  • Radiation therapy to treat cancer within four weeks of patients being ready to treat.
  • Hip fracture treatment within 48 hours.
  • Hip replacements within 26 weeks.
  • Knee replacements within 26 weeks.
  • Surgery to remove cataracts within 16 weeks for patients who are at high risk.
  • Breast cancer screening for women ages 50 to 69 every two years.
  • Cervical cancer screening for women 18 to 69 every three years after two normal tests.
  • Cardiac bypass patients will get treatment within two weeks to 26 weeks, depending on the severity of the case.

The Wait Times Alliance, created in 2004 to provide governments with advice from the physicians' perspective, put out an interim report card in November 2006 on the progress made. It said governments have reduced the wait to be treated for cancer and other priority health problems. Governments were given a grade of A for funding, but an "incomplete" mark for making meaningful reductions in wait times.

Each province was to come up with its own strategy on how it would improve access. Many of them have wait-times information on websites, including B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Quebec, Ontario, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.

Go to the Top

Story Tools: PRINT | Text Size: S M L XL | REPORT TYPO | SEND YOUR FEEDBACK

World »

Ted Cruz drops out Republican race after Donald Trump wins Indiana primary video
In a stunning triumph for a political outsider, Donald Trump all but clinched the Republican presidential nomination Tuesday with a resounding victory in Indiana that knocked rival Ted Cruz out of the race.
New European Union countries could face hefty fines for rejected refugees
European Union countries that refuse to accept refugees under proposals to overhaul the EU's failed asylum laws could face large fines for each asylum seeker rejected.
Norway helicopter crashed caused by mechanical failure says aviation board
The crash of a B.C.-owned helicopter that killed 13 people in Norway, Friday, was caused by a mechanical failure, said the the Norwegian accident investigation board.
more »

Canada »

Fort McMurray wildfire remains out of control after city evacuated video
A huge wildfire in Fort McMurray, Alta., destroyed an entire neighbourhood and burned homes and businesses in several others Tuesday, and continued to rage out of control.
Analysis Ambrose, MacKay, or O'Leary? What leadership polls tell us about the Conservative race
Though interim leader Rona Ambrose led a recent Conservative leadership poll, she has ruled herself out — again. But beyond recognizing that the other poll leaders, Peter MacKay and Kevin O'Leary, are the most familiar names in the race, what can these surveys tell us about the campaign's early days?
Canada's debt map: How much governments have borrowed in your name
As budget season nears its end, the debt accumulated by all three levels of government is revealing a national picture of indebtedness showing the residents of some cities live under very different debt loads than the residents of others.
more »

Politics »

Canada's debt map: How much governments have borrowed in your name
As budget season nears its end, the debt accumulated by all three levels of government is revealing a national picture of indebtedness showing the residents of some cities live under very different debt loads than the residents of others.
Analysis Ambrose, MacKay, or O'Leary? What leadership polls tell us about the Conservative race
Though interim leader Rona Ambrose led a recent Conservative leadership poll, she has ruled herself out — again. But beyond recognizing that the other poll leaders, Peter MacKay and Kevin O'Leary, are the most familiar names in the race, what can these surveys tell us about the campaign's early days?
Barack Obama to address Canadian Parliament in late June
White House and Canadian officials are eyeing June 29 or 30 as the date for U.S. President Barack Obama's address to a joint session of Parliament, CBC News has learned. Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto is also expected to be in Ottawa for a Three Amigos summit that will precede Obama's address.
more »

Health »

Sorry - we can't find that page
 
CBC.ca

Sorry, we can't find the page you requested.

  1. Please check the URL in the address bar, or ...
  2. Use the navigation links at left to explore our site, or ...
  3. Enter a term in the Quick Search box at top, or ...
  4. Visit our site map page

In a few moments, you will be taken to our site map page, which will help you find what you looking for.

more »

Arts & Entertainment»

Desert Trip lineup set: Dylan, Neil, McCartney, Stones, Who, Waters
Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones, The Who, Paul McCartney, Neil Young and Pink Floyd's Roger Waters will all take the stage at the Empire Polo Club in Indio, Calif., during a single October weekend.
Radiohead scrubs online presence, debuts new video, stokes anticipation for new album
Radiohead, the British rock troupe known for being innovative, pioneering and subversive, has fuelled worldwide anticipation for a potential new album by partially "erasing" its online identity just before debuting an eerie new music video.
Former child star arrested in connection with Sechelt bank robbery
Police have arrested a former child actor after a rare bank holdup last week on B.C.'s Sunshine Coast.
more »

Technology & Science »

Q&A Meet the WISP: Radio-powered computer doesn't need batteries
As we become increasingly connected to everything from fitness trackers to our homes, one constant remains — something has to power all these smart devices. CBC Radio technology columnist Dan Misener looks at a tiny computer that requires no battery whatsoever.
Fiat Chrysler, Google to co-operate on autonomous minivans
Fiat Chrysler and Google will work together to more than double the size of Google's self-driving vehicle fleet by adding 100 Chrysler Pacifica minivans.
Pentagon shows off the world's largest self-driving ship video
It's not only drones and driverless cars that may become the norm someday — ocean-faring ships might also run without captains or crews.
more »

Money »

Big-city suburbs' real estate prices soar as inventory lags
Bidding wars, buyers putting in multiple offers, homes selling within days for $100,000 over list price. Sounds typical for Toronto and Vancouver, but now those scenarios are spilling into the suburbs.
Canadian LNG prospects keep getting worse as prices tank and red tape delays projects
While several liquefied natural gas plants are proposed, they have all struggled to get off the ground as they wait for regulatory approval, delay making spending decisions, or cancel plans altogether.
Auto sales in Canada hit record in April, consultant says
DesRosiers Automotive Consultants says Canadian monthly auto sales hit a record in April, topping 200,000 for the first time.
more »

Consumer Life »

Sorry - we can't find that page
 
CBC.ca

Sorry, we can't find the page you requested.

  1. Please check the URL in the address bar, or ...
  2. Use the navigation links at left to explore our site, or ...
  3. Enter a term in the Quick Search box at top, or ...
  4. Visit our site map page

In a few moments, you will be taken to our site map page, which will help you find what you looking for.

more »

Sports »

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
Recap Raptors waste Kyle Lowry's miracle shot and lose to Heat in OT video
On a night the Toronto Raptors played poorly, they very nearly pulled off a victory after Kyle Lowry's long-distance buzzer-beater forced overtime. But it all fell apart over the extra five minutes, as the Raptors dropped a 102-96 decision to the Miami Heat on Tuesday, in Game 1 of their best-of-seven second-round playoff series.
Lowry gives Raptors life late in the fourth quarter video
Kyle Lowry had Toronto buzzing with his miracle buzzer-beater.
Recap Justin Smoak carries Blue Jays to extra-innings rally video
Justin Smoak tied the game in the ninth, then hit a walk-off homer in the 10th inning to lift the Toronto Blue Jays to a 3-1 victory over the Texas Rangers on Tuesday.
more »

Diversions »

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
more »