A new report released by the Fraser Institute, titled “Why We Wait: Physician Opinions on Factors Affecting Health Care Wait Times,” cites a lack of operating room time and changes in patient case loads as two of the most commonly reported factors behind increased wait times for medical care and surgical procedures.
The report analyzes physicians’ responses to the Institute’s annual Waiting Your Turn survey on health care wait times, and the reasons they gave for changes in their waiting lists.
Among the physicians who reported increased wait times in 2010, the lack of available operating room time was cited by 67.9% as the reason why their wait lists had increased. The next most cited reasons were changes in patient case load (38.8%) and lack of available hospital beds (29.5%).
When the responses to the survey questions are broken down by province or medical specialty, the majority of respondents say either the availability of operating room time or change in patient case load is the primary reason for increases in wait times. The one exception is radiation oncologists, who said the availability of technical staff was the primary reason for both increased or decreased waiting times.
The study also expands the data to include physician responses dating back to 2001, and finds that a lack of operating room time has consistently been the most cited factor by physicians for increases in wait times.
The report can be viewed at www.fraserinstitute.org.
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