We're No. 1! B.C. wait times continue to surge, especially for MRIs: Fraser Institute
One year to the week after Premier Christy Clark announced health authorities would get an extra $80 million over four years to speed up access to MRI tests, B.C. patients have the longest wait times in Canada for such imaging tests, according to a Fraser Institute study.
The annual report, Waiting Your Turn: Wait Times for Health Care in Canada, is based on a survey of about 2,400 specialist doctors across the country. The report has been criticized by governments and others for having neither scientific validity nor a good response rate (only 7.6 per cent of B.C. specialists responded to the survey). But a study done by the Canadian Institute of Health Information (CIHI) in 2013 (the most recent year for which this information is available) also showed B.C.’s use of MRIs in the public system was the lowest in Canada at 28 per 1,000 population. It is now 32 per 1,000 population, still lower than the national average, last reported at 41 per 1,000 population.
According to the Fraser Institute, Canada ranks 18th out of 26 developed countries for the number of MRI machines in the public health care system. The Fraser Institute report says B.C. patients are waiting a median of 24 weeks for MRIs, the same as the previous year. That time period is double that in many other provinces and four times longer than Ontario. Patients waiting for CT scans didn’t fare that much better, waiting a median of five weeks in B.C., a figure that has not budged in three years.
The challenge is to digitally link 29,000 doctors, 150,000 nurses, thousands of other health care providers, 156 hospital corporations operating 238 hospitals, 36 public health units, 76 community health centres, more than 4,000 pharmacies, 23 community ...
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