by Steven Globerman
October 31, 2013
Canadian patients face wait times for a wide range of health care services, particularly specialty services and procedures. For example, in 2012 Canadians could expect to wait 8.5 weeks on average from GP referral to consultation with a specialist. They could also expect to wait 9.3 weeks on average from specialist appointment to treatment. However, waiting lists impose indirect costs on those required to wait for health care, often including anxiety and physical pain and limitations. The larger the indirect costs, the more likely it is that waiting lists have net overall costs for Canadian society. Furthermore, waiting for medical services may lead to a worsening of the health status of patients such that it is ultimately more costly to treat them once they come off the waiting list or, in the extreme, impossible to restore them to health.