NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


October 21, 2004

Universal health care in Canada has forced would-be patients to wait long periods of time for medical care, says a new study by the Vancouver-based Fraser Institute.

In its analysis of 12 medical specialties across 10 provinces, the study entitled "Waiting Your Turn, Hospital Waiting Lists in Canada" found that:

  • The average wait for hospital treatment is 17.9 weeks; for example, the projected wait for hip-replacement surgery in British Columbia is one year.
  • Waiting times have reached an all-time high despite record levels of health care spending.

The pain and inconvenience of lengthy waiting times has forced many Canadians to seek treatment in private clinics. While this practice is not always strictly legal, the government looks the other way.

In addition, many have used American hospitals for care. For instance, Timely Medical Alternatives, a private company in Vancouver, contracts with hospitals south of the border to care for Canadian patients.

Source: Editorial, "Back-Alley Hip Replacements," Wall Street Journal, October 20, 2004; and Nadeem Esmail and Michael Walker, "Waiting Your Turn, Hospital Waiting Lists in Canada (14th Edition)," Fraser Institute, October 2004.

For WSJ text (subscription required),,SB109823191297350115-search,00.html


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