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Median wait times for medical treatment hit record high in Canada

Last Updated Nov 23, 2016 at 8:27 am MST

(Stock photo/FreeImages.com)

Wait times continue to climb in Canada.

The Fraser Institute has been tracking the duration it takes for a patient go from a GP referral to see a specialist to treatment for 23 years now, and for the first time, the median waiting period across the country has hit 20 weeks.

“In 1993 when we first started measuring wait times in Canada, the wait time was about 9.3 weeks. This year, in 2016, the wait time is 20 weeks. That is an increase of 115 per cent,” Baccus Barrua, co-author of the report, said.

He says they look at wait times in 12 different specialties to come up with their numbers.

Those wait times can vary from four to more than 45 weeks depending on the treatment.

“It can result in different kinds of suffering, they can result in people not being able to do their jobs properly and in the worst cases, they might actually result in people actually being permanently disabled because they waited too long in order to get treatment,” Barua said.

Alberta’s median wait time comes in at 22.9 weeks, which is down a couple weeks from its high back in 2014.