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Wait times here for medical consultations among shortest in country: think-tank

But gap between consultation and treatment still long

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Manitoba has one of the shortest waiting periods in Canada to have a consulation with a specialist after a referral by a general practictioner, according to the Fraser Institute's 22nd annual edition of Waiting Your Turn: Wait Times for Health Care in Canada which was released today.

Manitoba has the third-shortest waiting time of 7.8 weeks from GP to specialist, behind B.C. (7.2 weeks) and Quebec (7.3 weeks). That wait time is up slightly from 7.5 for Manitobans from 2011.

In the next step for Manitobans, the news isn't as good: the wait time between seeing the specialist and receiving treatment is 15.4 weeks.

That wait time, though down from 17.5 in 2011, is still the second-longest in Canada behind only Nova Scotia (17.6 weeks).

Overall, Manitobans have the fifth-highest waiting time in Canada with a total of 23.2 weeks from GP referral to actual treatment by a specialist. The only provinces with longer overall wait times than Manitoba are New Brunswick (35.1), Prince Edward Island (29.3), Nova Scotia (28.1) and Newfoundland/Labrador (26.8).

Across Canada, patients are waiting an average of 17.7 weeks for treatment after seeing a specialist, which is down slightly from 19.0 in 2011.

"While wait times have improved since last year, Canadians are still forced to wait more than four months, on average, for medically necessary treatment. Physicians, not to mention patients, consider this unreasonable," said Nadeem Esmail, Fraser Institute senior fellow and co-author of the report, in a medial release.

"The existing system is broken. Even monumental increases in government health spending have failed to reduce wait times over the past decade. Equally troubling is the fact that Canadians face some of the longest waits for medical treatment in the developed world."

The Waiting Your Turn report is based on a national survey of physicians. The full report, including charts showing wait times for all provinces and medical procedures, is available at www.fraserinstitute.org.

History

Updated on Tuesday, December 4, 2012 at 12:11 PM CST: Corrects that wait time from GP to specialist in Manitoba is up slightly

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