December 05, 2018

Saskatchewan Has Shortest Wait Times, Says Survey

Saskatchewan patients have the shortest total wait times in the country to see a specialist, according to the Fraser Institute’s annual survey of Canadian specialists.

The median wait time for Saskatchewan patients receiving specialist services was estimated at 15.4 weeks.  The longest median waits were in New Brunswick estimated at 45.1 weeks.  Saskatchewan was one of only two provinces that did not show an increase in the number of procedures that patients are waiting for.

“Since 2007, our government has recruited 487 new specialists an increase of 62 per cent,” Health Minister Jim Reiter said.  “We are pleased that the survey indicates patients are getting to see specialists sooner, but we recognize there is still more work to do.”

The survey shows Saskatchewan patients also have the shortest waits for specialist consultations after referral by a family doctor (6.3 weeks), compared to the longest waits in New Brunswick (28.5 weeks). 

Wait times to receive treatment after seeing a specialist are 9.2 weeks in Saskatchewan, the third-lowest wait in Canada.

“Averaged across all specialties, Saskatchewan and Quebec have come the closest to meeting the standard of ‘reasonable’ wait times,” as defined by physicians, the Fraser Institute report states.

The study examined the total wait time patients face across 12 medical specialties—from referral by a family doctor, to consultation with a specialist, to the date the patient ultimately receives treatment. 

The survey also noted Saskatchewan had the shortest waits for CT scans (2.8 weeks) and ultrasounds (1.1 weeks). 

The Fraser Institute uses the annual survey to estimate the wait times for medically necessary elective treatment for Canadian patients.