Saskatchewan

Sask. medical wait times 2nd lowest in country, new report says

According to a national think-tank, Saskatchewan has one of the lowest medical wait times in the country.

But Fraser Institute study also shows wait times creeping up from last year

According to a new study from the Fraser Institute, Saskatchewan has one of the lowest medical wait times in the country. (CBC)

Saskatchewan has one of the lowest medical wait times in the country, according to a national think-tank.

The Fraser Institute report Waiting Your Turn: Wait Times for Health Care in Canada says patients here can expect to wait an average of 19.8 weeks to receive medical treatment. The ranking places Saskatchewan second fastest in the country.

"Averaged across all specialties, Quebec and Saskatchewan have come closest to meeting the standard of 'reasonable' wait times," reads the report.

The study looked at 12 medical specialties — everything from orthopaedic surgery to neurosurgery.

While Saskatchewan wait times are low, they are creeping up. Last year, patients waited an average of 16.6 weeks for care.

In comparison, patients in New Brunswick waited double the amount of time for treatment than people in Saskatchewan, at 41.7 weeks.

"Excessively long wait times remain a defining characteristic of Canada's health-care system," said Bacchus Barua, the study's author. "Long wait times are not a trivial matter — they can increase suffering for patients, decrease quality of life and, in the worst cases, lead to disability or death."

The study sent survey questionnaires to practitioners in 12 medical specialties across the country, and received a 21-per-cent response rate.

Last November, the report's methodology was criticized by the Ministry of Health in B.C. It said the report was based on opinion, not science.

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