More than $1 billion needed to reduce wait times for certain medical procedures

 

With the number of new COVID-19 cases continuing to climb, the already over-taxed health care system could require even longer wait times for certain procedures.

A new study from the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) found that $1.3 billion in additional funding is required to return to pre-pandemic wait times for six procedures, which together account for nearly 80 per cent of the diagnostic and surgical care provided in Canadian hospitals.

These procedures include coronary artery bypass grafting, cataract surgeries, hip replacements, knee replacements, MRI scans and CT scans.

“There is no doubt that the impact of the pandemic will be felt for years to come. But for many Canadians, it could become a serious quality of life issue as they wait for their procedures,” Ann Collins, president of the CMA, said in a news release.

“Clearing this growing backlog must be addressed promptly, recognizing that the resurgence of the pandemic may exacerbate the issue with other potential delays," she continued.

Based on the findings, wait times have increased by up to 75 days for cataract surgeries and 33 days for a CT scan.

Further, according to the results, all provinces will require at least 15 per cent more funding over baseline costs to reduce the wait times for all procedures to those in line with pre-pandemic levels.

The amount of additional funding needed varies by province because of factors such as accumulated backlog, capacity and population size.

Ontario and Quebec require the largest chunk of funding due to their large populations, but PEI requires the largest percentage increase in funding.

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