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Medical wait times increasing in Manitoba

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Wait times for surgery or other therapeutic treatments are increasing, with one of the biggest jumps coming in Manitoba.

Median wait times in Manitoba jumped to 25 weeks, from 17.5 weeks in 2010, says a Fraser Institute survey released today. That puts it in the middle of the pack in Canada. The survey does not explain why there was such a drastic change in Manitoba from one year to the next.

In Newfoundland and Labrador, the median wait time also changed dramatically but the other way, falling to 22.8 weeks from 29.1 weeks.

New Brunswick dropped to 27.5 weeks from 33.6, while Nova Scotia and Saskatchewan each recorded 29 weeks, up from 28.5 weeks and 26.5 weeks, respectively.

Manitoba scored the second shortest wait time between the referral by general practitioners and seeing a specialist at 7.5 weeks. Ontario was shortest at 7.2 weeks.

However, the wait time between seeing a specialist and receiving treatment was 17.5 weeks in Manitoba, the second longest wait to only Saskatchewan’s 19 weeks.

Ontario has the shortest total wait time (the wait between referral by a general practitioner and receiving treatment) among all provinces at 14.3 weeks, up from 14 weeks in 2010.

British Columbia has the second-shortest total wait at 19.3 weeks, up from 18.8 weeks in 2010. Quebec ranks third at 19.9 weeks, up from 18.8 weeks in 2010, and Alberta fourth at 21.1 weeks, down from 22.1 weeks in 2010.

According to the report, national wait times between 2010 and 2011 increased in both the delay between referral by a general practitioner to consultation with a specialist (rising to 9.5 weeks from 8.9 weeks in 2010), and the delay between a consultation with a specialist and receiving treatment (rising to 9.5 weeks from 9.3 weeks in 2010).

Across the 10 provinces, the total estimated number of procedures for which people waited in 2011 is 941,321, an increase of 14 per cent from the estimated 825,827 procedures in 2010.

"Six out of 10 provinces are on pace to spend half of total available revenues on health care by 2017," the Fraser Institute said.

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