Patients still wait for ER, primary care, despite cuts to some surgical wait times

TORONTO – A report says Canadians spend more than four hours on average in hospital emergency rooms waiting for treatment, and one in 10 wait eight hours or more.

The report by the Canadian Institute for Health Information also found more than half of Canadians surveyed said they can’t get an appointment with their family doctor on the same or next day.

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The report says 14 per cent of patients wait more than three months for an appointment with a specialist, and 25 per cent have to wait four months or longer for elective surgery.

CIHI says that on any given day, about five per cent of patients are in acute-care hospital beds waiting to be discharged to residential care or back home with support services.

One in five of these patients – most of them aged 65 or older – wait more than a month to be moved.

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Waits for cancer, cardiac, joint-replacement and sight-restoration operations have dropped since 2004–2005, largely because of targeted investment in these areas.

“Wait times have improved for certain types of care, but more can still be done,” John Wright, CIHI president and CEO, said in a statement.

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