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Medical wait times cost B.C. patients $2,300 each

New Fraser Institute report places B.C. at second worst in costs associated with long wait times

B.C. residents faced some of the country’s longest wait times to undergo surgery or receive treatment last year, leading to hundreds of thousands in lost wages.

That’s according to a report by the right-leaning think-tank group the Fraser Institute, which took a look at wait times between seeing a specialist and receiving treatment in each province and calculated the associated amount of lost wages.

In B.C., where average wait times were about 14 weeks, lost wages per patient were about $2,300 – the second highest loss compared to the rest of Canada, after Nova Scotia.

An estimated 973,000 Canadians waited more than 10 weeks to undergo surgery or receive treatments, averaging to $1.7 billion in total wages lost.

Hospital wait time costs
Create line charts

Canadian physician standards say eight weeks is considered a clinically reasonable wait time.

The report estimates calculated costs of the person waiting for treatment, and not the costs of care provided by family members or lost productivity due to mental anguish, the report reads, or other medical issues that can arise due to “long delays for treatment.”

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Wait times also reportedly differed treatment to treatment.

B.C. residents waited an average of 39 weeks for orthopaedic surgery, compared to the national average of 22 weeks, and as little as about two weeks for urgent cardiovascular surgery, compared to about one-and-a-half weeks on average across the rest of the country.

Since 2012, the costs of waiting for treatments in Canada have been increasing, according to Statistics Canada, with the shortest median wait time in 2009, at about eight weeks.


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