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 »

Republicans postpone vote on their health-care bill until after July 4
U.S. Senate leaders postponed debate on their health-care bill, in deepening jeopardy as opposition from rebellious Republicans intensifies. The defections increased after Congress's nonpartisan budget referee said the measure would leave 22 million more people uninsured by 2026 than former president Barack Obama's law.
'It's like WannaCry all over again': New ransomware attack infects computers around the world
A new outbreak of ransomware is causing disruption across the world, paralyzing hospitals, government offices and major corporations. Ukraine and other parts of Europe were hit particularly hard by the latest cyberattack, which follows a similar outbreak in May.
President Nicolas Maduro says helicopter fired on Venezuela's Supreme Court
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro says a helicopter fired on the country's Supreme Court in a confusing incident that he claimed was part of a conspiracy to destabilize his socialist government.
more »

Canada »

Analysis Foonie? As loonie turns 30, it's time to think of a name for a $5 coin: Don Pittis
This week, the loonie turns 30. Don Pittis explores why it may be time to start saying a long goodbye to the blue $5 bill.
'A full day, we cried here': Neighbours weep for 2 'gentle' boys killed in Mississauga crash
A small Mississauga neighbourhood is mourning the loss of two boys, 13 and 5, who were killed in a car crash just 10 minutes from their home on Sunday night.
B.C. leading rise in private school enrolment across Canada
More parents across Canada are choosing to send their children to private or independent schools, according to a new study from the Fraser Institute.
more »

Politics »

Analysis How Trudeau lost his way on electoral reform video
Nearly five months after his government decided to abandon any thought it had of pursuing electoral reform, Justin Trudeau was asked on Tuesday whether he felt badly about that.
Canadian sniper's shot 'entirely consistent' with non-combat role, Trudeau says video audio
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says a record-breaking shot by a Canadian special forces sniper is something that should be "celebrated" for demonstrating the training and professionalism of the Canadian Forces - and is well within the realm of the advise and assist role in Iraq.
Trudeau blames Conservative senators for acrimony in Senate
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says his push to reform the Senate along independent lines is playing out as planned, blaming recent acrimony on Conservative senators who stood in the way of government legislation in the Red Chamber.
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»

Pepe lives! Cartoonist resurrecting frog hijacked by trolls
Los Angeles-based cartoonist Matt Furie says he intends to resurrect the Pepe the Frog character he killed off last month, in what appeared to be a rebuke to racist, anti-Semitic internet trolls who hijacked his creation, transforming it into a hate symbol.
Barbara Frum inducted into CBC News Hall of Fame video
Barbara Frum, known to Canadians as a co-host and trusted interviewer on As It Happens and The Journal, has been inducted into the CBC News Hall of Fame.
Dragon Tattoo star Michael Nyqvist dies at 56 video
Swedish actor Michael Nyqvist, who starred in the original The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo films and often played villains in Hollywood movies like John Wick has died.
more »

Technology & Science »

Facebook hits 2 billion users, doubling in size since 2012
Facebook Inc. said on Tuesday that 2 billion people are regularly using its flagship service, marching past another milestone in its growth from a college curiosity in the United States to the world's largest social media network.
'It's like WannaCry all over again': New ransomware attack infects computers around the world
A new outbreak of ransomware is causing disruption across the world, paralyzing hospitals, government offices and major corporations. Ukraine and other parts of Europe were hit particularly hard by the latest cyberattack, which follows a similar outbreak in May.
Rare 'bright nights' mystery solved by Canadian scientists
It's a phenomenon that's been noted throughout history: bright nights when you could read even though there was no illumination from the moon, candles or any other form of light. Now, Canadian scientists believe they've unravelled the mystery.
more »

Money »

Royal Bank to pay back $22M in investment fees it overcharged
The Royal Bank of Canada will pay almost $22 million in compensation to clients who were charged excess fees on some mutual funds and investments products.
'It's like WannaCry all over again': New ransomware attack infects computers around the world
A new outbreak of ransomware is causing disruption across the world, paralyzing hospitals, government offices and major corporations. Ukraine and other parts of Europe were hit particularly hard by the latest cyberattack, which follows a similar outbreak in May.
Facebook hits 2 billion users, doubling in size since 2012
Facebook Inc. said on Tuesday that 2 billion people are regularly using its flagship service, marching past another milestone in its growth from a college curiosity in the United States to the world's largest social media network.
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]
'Go out there and beat him': Andre De Grasse's plan to end talk about Usain Bolt video
Andre De Grasse is asked about Jamaican legend Usain Bolt at almost every opportunity, but the 22-year-old sprinter is relishing the chase.
Preview NHL free agency: Big names, bargains and busts
When the NHL's annual unrestricted free agent derby begins on July 1, who are the marquee players that are more likely to move? Who should teams go after? Who should they avoid? Here's a breakdown of this year's class.
Jake the Diamond Dog steals hearts in baseball's minor leagues
Jake the Diamond Dog has been a fixture at minor-league games for years, touring various ballparks and bringing joy by delivering game balls, catching Frisbees and serving as "bat dog."
more »

Diversions »

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
more »