health care

For many Canadians, vacation may mean beach, golf… and surgery

In 2016, Canadians could expect to wait 10.6 weeks for medically necessary treatment after seeing a specialist.

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Leaving Canada for Medical Care 2017

Summary

  • In 2016, an estimated 63,459 Canadians received non-emergency medical treatment outside Canada.
  • Physicians in British Columbia reported the highest proportion of patients (in a province) receiving treatment abroad (2.4%). The largest number of patients estimated to have left the country for treatment was from Ontario (26,513).
  • Across Canada, otolaryngologists reported the highest proportion of patients (in a specialty) travelling abroad for treatment (2.1%). The largest number of patients (in a specialty) travelled abroad for general surgeries (9,454).
  • One explanation for patients travelling abroad to receive medical treatment may relate to the long waiting times they are forced endure in Canada’s health care system. In 2016, patients could expect to wait 10.6 weeks for medically necessary treatment after seeing a specialist—almost 4 weeks longer than the time physicians consider to be clinically “reasonable” (7.0 weeks).
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Leaving Canada for Medical Care, 2016

In 2015, an estimated 45,619 Canadians received non-emergency medical treatment outside Canada. Physicians in British Columbia reported the highest proportion of patients (in a province) receiving treatment abroad (1.5%). The largest number of patients estimated to have left the country for treatment was from Ontario (22,352).

Across Canada, urologists reported the highest proportion of patients (in a specialty) travelling abroad for treatment (1.6%). The largest number of patients (in a specialty) also travelled abroad for urology procedures (4,974).

One explanation for patients travelling abroad to receive medical treatment may relate to the long waiting times they are forced endure in Canada’s health care system. In 2015, patients could expect to wait 9.8 weeks for medically necessary treatment after seeing a specialist—almost 3 weeks longer than the time physicians consider to be clinically “reasonable” (7.1 weeks).

The high cost of ‘free’ health care

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Embracing the private sector to deliver universal health care in B.C.

British Columbia’s health ministry recently announced it will invest $10 million to increase surgical capacity, with an eye on reducing wait times.
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