Fraser Institute Report on the Cost of Treatment Wait Times for Patients in Canada

DoctoresCFN – Canadians lost a combined $1.1 billion, or an average of $1,202 per patient, as a result of lengthy waits for medically necessary health care in 2013, finds a new study released today by the Fraser Institute, an independent, non-partisan Canadian public policy think-tank.

The study, The Private Cost of Public Queues for Medically Necessary Care, calculates the average value of time lost during the work week for each of the estimated 928,120 patients waiting for surgery in Canada last year.

When calculations include hours outside the work week—evenings and weekends, excluding eight hours of sleep per night—the estimated cost of waiting jumps from $1.1 billion to $3.4 billion, or an average of $3,681 per patient.

“The negative impact of wait times on the productivity of patients and their ability to participate fully in life is an issue too often ignored in the health care debate. Reduced productivity in the workplace, or reduced ability to engage with family and friends, may impact family income and increase stress for Canadian patients,” said Nadeem Esmail, study author and Fraser Institute director of health policy studies.

Unfortunately, Canadians are waiting longer for health care and thus face greater losses in productivity.

Despite a period of improvement (2004 to 2009) in both wait times (from specialist to treatment) and the private cost of waiting, notes the study, since 2009 wait times have increased along with the cost borne by patients. Consequently, the private cost of waiting is now two per cent higher (after inflation) than in 2004.

Among the provinces, residents of Saskatchewan faced the highest private cost of waiting per patient ($2,022), followed by Manitoba ($1,977) and Nova Scotia ($1,732). Patients in Ontario endured the lowest private cost of waiting ($867), followed by Quebec ($1,079) and British Columbia ($1,191).

“Without sensible health policy reform, waiting will remain a defining characteristic of the Canadian health care experience, and delays, while negatively impacting the health and wellbeing of patients, will also continue to rob patients of valuable time,” Esmail said.

via medica



  1. My granddaughter recently was a victim of the slow wait times for surgery in St Catherines newest 1 year old hospital.My adult granddaughter had fallen & broke her arm,she required surgery putting in screws & a plate.She went to hospital last Tuesday night & was put in a private room .Surgery only done on Friday evening Discharge on Sunday,that was a lot of needless pain waiting & great expense for hospital for the private room

  2. “The Fraser Institute, an independent, non-partisan Canadian public policy think-tank.”
    That is pure unadulterated bullsh!t. The Fraser is a hard-core conservative/Conservative (registered charity) funded by big business. Mike Harris and Preston Manning are “senior fellows” of The Fraser Institute. Non-partisan, my ass! That’s like saying Don Cherry is a Dipper.

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    Now Furtz no Con would dress like Grapes!

  4. That is the trouble with our health care system and there is no need for that to happen at all whatsoever. There is such a thing as triage and they don’t do that at all. When my daughter was very sick with viral pneumonia and we didn’t know what it was she had to wait for 10 hours in the emergency room being very sick to her stomach and all and nobody to check her out. Gang members came in and nothing wrong with them but they took over the emergency room. One elderly man had the same as my daughter and he came by ambulance and still had to wait. A lady was sick as well and gave up waiting and went home. Many were occupying the ER for no reason at all and just to kill time. These surgeries should be performed as quickly as possible.

    One thing I can say thank God for our socialist system. We paid big money along with my BIL in Australia to be able to have their eldest system looked after otherwise you literally die at the door of the hospital if you do not have money. My other SIL in Lebanon has a broken bone in her back and is in a type of a body armour. It is one problem after another. With all the insanity of our health care system we still don’t have too much to complain about.

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