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 »

Analysis Once young and promising, Italy's Matteo Renzi gets handed his hat
If there was ever any doubt that Italy's referendum on constitutional reform was anything other than a verdict on Matteo Renzi as prime minister, the nearly 70 per cent voter turnout and resounding defeat of his proposals on Sunday blasted away the last scraps of uncertainty.
Trump not saying how he'll view Dakota Access pipeline
Trump spokesman says incoming president supports construction of Dakota Access pipeline, but wouldn't say whether Trump would reverse Army Corps of Engineers decision to deny construction permit.
CBC IN STANDING ROCK 'I'm here until they're done': Standing Rock protesters savour a victory, but not packing up just yet video
A decision to deny permission for the contentious Dakota Access Pipeline to be built under a Missouri River reservoir near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation was cause for celebration, but it seems unlikely protesters will leave the site anytime soon.
more »

Canada »

National Chief Perry Bellegarde faces divisions over pipelines as AFN meets
First Nations leaders who support pipeline projects are afraid to speak out and voice their support for development because they have become "stigmatized" by some virulently anti-pipeline protesters, AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde says.
Analysis Central banks are intrinsically conservative to keep our money safe: Don Pittis
In the era of Donald Trump, it seems inevitable that the entrepreneurial urge to make hay while the sun shines is headed for a collision with the restraining forces of central banking.
Exclusive Justin Trudeau vows 'significant improvements' to refugee system video
Asked by sponsors frustrated by a lack of communication what he plans to do to make bringing refugees to Canada easier, Trudeau said his government must “make significant improvements” to the system.
more »

Politics »

Analysis Liberal government launches online survey meant to spur electoral reform conversation video
Canadians will soon begin receiving a postcard from the federal government, inviting them to participate in an interactive survey that asks participants a series of questions about their values, preferences and priorities for a political system.
National Chief Perry Bellegarde faces divisions over pipelines as AFN meets
First Nations leaders who support pipeline projects are afraid to speak out and voice their support for development because they have become "stigmatized" by some virulently anti-pipeline protesters, AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde says.
Analysis Maxime Bernier's donor base is bigger and broader than Kellie Leitch's
Maxime Bernier nearly caught up to Kellie Leitch in Conservative leadership fundraising in the most recent quarter for which data is available. But the regional distribution of his support suggests he has a big advantage.
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»

Jimmy Kimmel tapped as Oscars host
With two Emmy Award telecasts under his belt, late-night host Jimmy Kimmel is now heading to the Oscars.
Sending a speech plus Patti Smith: Bob Dylan's Nobel gala replacements
He won't be there in person but the Nobel Foundation says Bob Dylan has written a speech that will be read out at the traditional Nobel Prize banquet.
Last Tango in Paris rape scene revelation sparks fresh Hollywood outrage
Last Tango in Paris is making headlines again 44 years after the controversial film came out. A recently re-posted video interview with Italian director Bernardo Bertolucci from 2013 has renewed interest, and outrage, over what happened to actress Maria Schneider on set during the infamous butter rape scene.
more »

Technology & Science »

Opinion Ransomware doesn't just target the big guys
Everyone needs to be vigilant, educated and mindful of this growing digital threat.
Exclusive Environment Canada tests new supercomputer to forecast weather
Environment Canada's meteorological service has a powerful new supercomputer to help it more accurately forecast the weather — the government just doesn't want you to know about it yet.
Is your office building making you sick?
If only we could just crack a window open around here...
more »

Money »

Live International trade minister's announcement and news conference LIVE video
Chrystia Freeland delivers address to the Toronto Region Board of Trade
Trump not saying how he'll view Dakota Access pipeline
Trump spokesman says incoming president supports construction of Dakota Access pipeline, but wouldn't say whether Trump would reverse Army Corps of Engineers decision to deny construction permit.
Stocks and euro rebound from early losses after Italy's Renzi resigns following 'no' vote
European stock markets were slightly higher Monday, the first day of trading since Italy's premier Matteo Renzi resigned following his loss in a key referendum over the weekend.
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]
Blue Jays add versatile infielder Steve Pearce
The Blue Jays kick-started baseball's winter meetings in Maryland on Monday, announcing they have reached an agreement with free-agent first baseman Steve Pearce on a two-year deal worth $12.5 million US.
Can Duhamel, Radford clean up risky routine at Grand Prix Final?
Known for their boundary pushing and technically difficult routines, which despite errors has kept them on the podium this season, Canadian and pairs world champions Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford are still working out the kinks in their routine ahead of the Grand Prix Final.
Olympic sports roundup: Canadians slide to gold video
It was a jam-packed weekend of high-performance sport around the world, with many Canadian athletes in action, including Kaillie Humphries, Elisabeth Vathje, and the luge team relay squad winning World Cup gold.
more »

Diversions »

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
more »