Wait times for medical procedures cost Canadians billions of dollars last year


Published May 7, 2020 at 10:08 pm


Canadians lost billions of dollars in lost wages and productivity due to long wait times for medical treatment last year.

According to a report from the Fraser Institute, Canadians lost $2.1 billion just last year due to lengthy waiting periods for surgeries and medical treatments.

Most alarming, this number is expected to increase due to the fact that most provinces have postponed medical procedures due to the pandemic.

“Health-care workers across Canada should be commended for the superb job they’re doing to get us through this global pandemic. However, once elective surgeries resume, they could face further challenges as they tackle the ever-increasing backlog of patients waiting for care,” Bacchus Barua, associate director of health policy studies at the Fraser Institute and co-author of The Private Cost of Public Queues for Medically Necessary Care, 2020, said in a news release.
According to the findings, more than one million Canadians–1,064,286–had to wait for medically necessary treatments, which cost an average of $1,963 per person.

“Even before we started postponing surgeries as a result of COVID-19, patients across Canada were waiting a significant amount of time, and long health-care wait times mean lost wages and a reduced quality of life for patients,” Barua said.

“Now is the time to consider policy options that may benefit patients and alleviate strain on our public health-care system once the COVID-19 crisis has run its course,” he continued.

Because wait times and incomes vary by province, the cost of waiting for treatment varies from province to province.

Additionally, despite the fact Ontario is the most populated province in the country, the average cost per wait time for treatment is one of the lowest–Ontarians lose an average of $1,408 while waiting for treatment, the second-lowest provincial average in the country.

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