Fraser Institute releases study on financial ramifications of medical service wait times

The Fraser Institute is out with the results of a new study which broadens the scope of the detrimental impact of medical service wait times for patients.

It says last year long waits for surgeries and medical treatments cost Canadians $1.2 billion in lost income and productivity.


Measured by the value of time lost during the work week, it says each of the more than 937 thousand patients waiting for surgery last year bore an average personal cost of $1,289.

When hours outside the traditional work week are accounted for, that is evenings and weekends, excluding eight hours of sleep per night, the estimated cost of waiting is $3.7 billion, and the average per patient, then jumps to $3,929.

The study drew data from the think tanks, “Waiting Your Turn” annual monitor involving physicians across the country, in twelve major medical specialties which measures wait time for medical care.

Recalling again the average of $1,289, we note the province by province comparison shows residents of Nova Scotia faced the highest private waiting cost per patient, at $2,081.

The study also recorded averages for Alberta, Manitoba, Newfoundland/Labrador, Prince Edward Island and B-C, in that order, ranging from $1,848, to $1,514 per patient.

Thus they were all above the national average, but New Brunswick was slightly below it at $1,167, and then came Ontario, Quebec and Saskatchewan, all under $1,000 a patient, with Saskatchewan posting the lowest average at $813.

A study co-author says “Without sensible policy reform, these waits will continue to be a detriment to not only, the Heath of Canadian patients, but to their pocketbooks, their quality of life, and our overall economy.”