Neurosurgery Wait Times in Canada: Decrease of 15.3 Weeks in 2023 vs 2022

Waiting for an elective neurosurgery in Canada has become a significant concern for patients and healthcare professionals alike. The prolonged wait times for neurosurgery have a detrimental impact on patients’ quality of life and overall well-being. This blog aims to highlight the latest neurosurgery wait times as reported by Fraser Institute.

Understanding Neurosurgery Medical Wait Times

Neurosurgery medical wait times refer to the length of time patients have to wait for elective procedures, such as laminectomy, discectomy, spinal fusion, and others. These wait times are measured from the moment a patient is referred to a specialist to the actual date of the procedure. It is broken down into two components: the wait time to see the specialist and the wait time from seeing the specialist to actual surgery. In Canada, these wait times have been steadily increasing over the years, leading to concerns about the accessibility and efficiency of neurosurgical care.

2023 Report

According to the Fraser Institute’s yearly publication on medical wait times, Waiting Your Turn: Wait Times for Health Care in Canada, 2023 Report median wait time from GP referral to see a specialist in Neurosurgery in 2023 was 31.1 weeks. In 2022 it was 45.7 weeks.

The median wait time between an appointment with a specialist and treatment in Neurosurgery in 2023 was 12.5 weeks. In 2022 it was 13.3 weeks.

The total wait time in 2022 was 58.9 weeks. In 2023 is it 43.6, an improvement of 15.3 weeks, with most of the wait time decrease coming from waiting to see a specialist.

Regional Differences

It must be noted that neurosurgery wait times vary widely depending on the province you live in. Generally speaking, Maritime residents have the longest wait times, and Ontario residents have the shortest. 2023 report states that the median total expected waiting time from referral by GP to neurosurgery was the highest in New Brunswick at 276.1 weeks, followed by Nova Scotia at 143.3 weeks and the lowest in Quebec at 6.8 weeks followed by Alberta with 34.3 weeks. The difference between the national 43.6 weeks to the highest is sixfold!

Should You Consider Private Neurosurgery

It is clear that provincial governments’ improvements are being made as the wait time for neurosurgery decreased by almost 4 weeks. However, many provincial governments are struggling to put more money into healthcare and federal help is being given for provincial healthcare, however a big chunk of that money is allocated to mental health, an issue in itself and not subject to this blog.

On a personal level – what can be done? There are private options for neurosurgery surgery in Quebec and the USA.

According to the Fraser Institute “this year’s survey of specialists also found that an estimated 1.8% of patients received elective treatment in another country during 2022/23. Physicians also report that only about 13.7% of their patients are on a waiting list because they requested a delay or postponement, and that 47.1% would agree to have their procedure performed within a week if an opening arose. Thus, despite provincial strategies to reduce wait times and high levels of expenditure on health care, it is clear that patients in Canada are waiting too long to receive treatment.”

If you are considering private neurosurgery we are here to help. You can reach us by email or toll-free 877 344 3544 to see if private neurosurgery surgery is for you.

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