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 »

CBC IN LONDON The officer and the MP: both tried to save lives, only one succeeded
Keith Palmer and Tobias Ellwood, both fathers and at one time soldiers, are both being praised for their heroism in Wednesday's attack in London.
New U.S. House sets risky health care vote after Trump demands it
In a gamble with monumental political stakes, Republicans set course for a climactic House vote on their health care overhaul after U.S. President Donald Trump claimed he was finished negotiating with Republican holdouts and determined to pursue the rest of his agenda, win or lose.
Updated Khalid Masood, once named Adrian Russell Ajao, used rental car to mow down pedestrians video
Police are combing through "massive amounts of computer data" and have contacted thousands of witnesses as they look for clues about why a British-born man became radicalized and launched a deadly attack on Parliament, a senior police official said Friday.​
more »

Canada »

Analysis Everyone thinks Parliament should be reformed, but no one can agree on how video
The latest attempt at parliamentary reform in Canada seems in danger of being strangled by parliamentary democracy.
Dennis Oland's lawyers prepare to seek 'complete vindication'
Dennis Oland's second degree murder case soon could be back before the Supreme Court of Canada as his defence lawyers prepare next steps in their bid toward his "complete vindication."
FIFTH ESTATE 'Strong suspicion': Dylan Koshman's 2008 disappearance in Edmonton upgraded to homicide investigation
An eight-year-old missing person case involving the disappearance of Dylan Koshman in Edmonton has been upgraded to a homicide investigation, The Fifth Estate has learned.
more »

Politics »

Analysis Everyone thinks Parliament should be reformed, but no one can agree on how video
The latest attempt at parliamentary reform in Canada seems in danger of being strangled by parliamentary democracy.
Live Question Period LIVE video
From the House of Commons in Ottawa
Some Mounties swapping red serge for blue as they seek jobs with other forces
Heavy caseloads, a toxic workplace culture, concerns about officer safety and low pay are among the reasons cited by Mounties who spoke to CBC News after leaving the RCMP for new careers at other Canadian police forces.
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»

No changes to The Last Jedi because of Carrie Fisher's death, says Disney CEO
Disney CEO Bob Iger says the upcoming Star Wars sequel has not been changed due to the death of Carrie Fisher.
White artist's Emmett Till painting under fire at NY museum
An abstract painting of lynching victim Emmett Till on display at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York was the subject of a weeklong protest by a black artist who decried the canvas as 'an injustice to the black community' because it was painted by a white woman.
Boston drummer Sib Hashian dies; The Rock pays tribute to him as '2nd dad'
John (Sib) Hashian, former drummer for the arena rock band Boston, died on board a cruise ship Wednesday. He was 67.
more »

Technology & Science »

The politics of Pluto: 10 years later, the bitter debate rages on
More than 10 years after Pluto was demoted from planet to dwarf planet, the debate continues, with leading scientists on both sides becoming more vociferous and maybe a little testy.
Twitter exploring subscription-based version for first time
Twitter Inc. is considering whether to build a premium version of its popular Tweetdeck interface aimed at professionals, raising the possibility that it could collect subscription fees from some users for the first time.
Skin powered by the sun? Prosthetic limbs with better sense of touch being developed
A new prototype from researchers at the University of Glasgow opens up the possibility for so-called 'solar-powered skin.'
more »

Money »

Updated Inflation rate cools to 2% in February
Canada's inflation rate was two per cent in February, a slight cooldown from January's level.
Updated Keystone XL pipeline gets OK from U.S. State Department
Calgary-based TransCanada has received a presidential permit from the U.S. State Department that allows it to build the long-delayed Keystone XL pipeline.
Canada-wide recession could follow foreign buyers tax in Toronto, Brad Lamb says
Toronto developer Brad Lamb is warning a foreign home buyers tax could cause a Canada-wide recession, but a professor advocating for the tax says Lamb is just "fear mongering" to save his bottom line.
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]
Rachel Homan stays perfect, advances to final of curling worlds
Canada's Rachel Homan has booked her ticket to the final at the women's world curling championship. The Ottawa skip led her rink to a 7-3 win over Russia in today's Page playoff game between the top two round-robin teams in Beijing.
Preview Canadian MacDougall set for debut run at 'stacked' cross-country worlds
Brogan MacDougall reportedly is in "excellent form" ahead of her debut run at Sunday's world cross-country championships (CBCSports.ca, 7 a.m. ET) in Kampala, Uganda, where the 16-year-old high school standout will lead Canada's 27-athlete contingent.
Video Methot's fingertip mangled courtesy of Sidney the slasher video
Sidney Crosby was caught slashing Marc Methot on Thursday night. The slash looked harmless until Methot took off his glove and realized his fingertip was bloodied and mangled.
more »

Diversions »

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
more »