Real Action on Wait Times

Everyone deserves timely, quality care. There are proven steps we can take to shorten wait times for care, and they must be taken immediately.

Brian Day's alarming vision for Canadian health care would mean many Canadians would wait even longer for care, while the very few who can afford it pay to jump the line.

Here are five real solutions to surgical wait times that are efficient, safe, and based on need, not ability to pay. They will improve health care for everyone in B.C., rather than just a privileged few:

Maximizing the use of public operating rooms.

Eighteen per cent of public hospital operating rooms are not regularly staffed, primarily because of inadequate funding. No operating rooms have extended hours. Doctors of BC – and even the BC government – have stated that existing public sector capacity should be fully utilized before any money goes to the private system.

Adopting a “first available surgeon” model of waiting list management

Wait times vary widely across surgeons and specialty areas. BC should move to centralized management of these waitlists to allow patients to see the first available specialist or surgeon. The implementation of a “first available surgeon” model does not prevent patients from seeing their preferred specialist.

Improving access to home and community care

Better access to affordable, high quality home and community-based care, especially for seniors, would reduce hospital bed shortages, cancellations of elective surgeries and, ultimately, wait times for all patients. Many patients, particularly seniors, end up in hospital beds because community alternatives are not available. This situation can be addressed by improving access to publicly funded home and community care to ensure the more appropriate use of health care resources and the best of care for our seniors.

Expanding "one-stop-shop" patient assessment clinics.

A multi-disciplinary team-based approach to surgical care would help better prepare patients for surgery. Potential patients would be assessed by a team of health professionals working at their full capacity, which would free up surgeons' time, and would provide support and education to help patients be better prepared for surgery, leading to fewer cancelled surgeries, better outcomes for patients, and shorter waits for everyone.

Scaling up innovative pilot projects

The Richmond Hip and Knee Reconstruction Project reduced wait times from 20 months to 5 months by improving the scheduling of surgeries and recovery beds. Innovations like this could be made system wide.


Read more about wait times ...

In April 2016, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives released an analysis of solutions that could be used to address wait times. The full report is available here.


The Government taking action on wait times

In March 2018, the BC Government implemented many of our recommendations and increased their investment in the public health care system.

BC Health Coalition Press Releases:

BC Government Press Releases: