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Wait times grow as we near the end of the 2004 Health Accord

A new report by the Canadian Institution for Health Information is showing that wait times were dropping for knee and hip surgeries in the years following the 2004 health accord.

In the 2004 Health Accord “governments committed to reducing waits in five priority areas and set benchmarks for radiation therapy, cardiac bypass surgery, hip and knee replacements, hip fracture repair and cataract surgery”, says CIHI. But as we near the expiry of the 2004 accord, CIHI’s data shows that wait times are growing: “In 2012, 80% of patients received hip replacements within the benchmark wait time, compared with 84% of patients in 2010. The proportion of patients receiving knee surgery within the benchmark also declined during this period, from 79% to 75%.”

Not only are wait times rising, CIHI also reports that waits for these procedures vary greatly across the provinces. The Council of Canadians sees a need for the federal government to assist provinces with sharing and implementing best practices.

What’s to be done? The Council of Canadians has been calling for federal leadership in health care and for the creation of a new Health Accord in 2014. We want to see new benchmarks and national standards placed on care.

So far the Conservative government has ignored the calls of premiers and citizens for leadership on health care instead calling health care a strictly “provincial jurisdiction”.

We will continue to call on the federal government to strengthen and expand public health care in Canada through a 2014 Health Accord. The Council of Canadians, with our medicare allies, are planning a national medicare lobby week April 8th and two days of events at the Council of the Federation meeting in July.

For more information on CIHI’s report, please visit: http://www.cihi.ca/CIHI-ext-portal/internet/en/Document/health+system+performance/access+and+wait+times/RELEASE_19MAR13 or read Wait Times for Priority Procedures in Canada, 2013.

For information on the health care lobby, please see: http://canadians.org/blog/?p=19796

For more information on our past actions at the Council of the Federation, please see: http://canadians.org/blog/?p=16216;  http://canadians.org/blog/?p=13133 ;

For information on the July Council of the Federation meeting, check back often!