In B.C., the number of patients reporting 'unreasonable' wait times jumps to one-in-three

Orthopedic surgery in Canada: Most had positive outcomes, but one-in-four found the wait too long

By —— Bio and Archives--July 24, 2017

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As news reports profile orthopedic surgery patients frustrated with lengthy wait-times, a unique Angus Reid Institute survey of more than 1,500 Canadians who have undergone orthopedic surgery within the last ten years finds large majorities satisfied with their surgeon, hospital, and surgery outcome, but a significantly smaller number satisfied with the amount of time they had to wait.

More than one-in-five say they waited an “unreasonable” amount of time for treatment

More than one-in-five say they waited an “unreasonable” amount of time for treatment, a number that suggests more than 300,000 Canadians have experienced unreasonable waits for orthopedic surgery in the last decade.

In British Columbia, where Dr. Brian Day is challenging the provincial government over his Cambie Surgery Clinic’s right to charge patients for surgery, the percentage reporting an unreasonable wait time rises to one-in-three (34%).

Fully half (51%) of those who deem their wait time unreasonable waited more than a year for treatment.

If they had to do it again, more than one-in-three of these patients (36%) would pay out-of-pocket in order to speed things up.



Key Findings:

  • One-in-six orthopedic surgery patients who found their wait times unreasonable (17%) were on waiting lists for two years or more before their operations. Half (51%) waited at least a year, and fully eight-in-ten (81%) waited longer than the Canadian Institute for Health Information’s benchmark of six months
  • More than one-in-three who had unreasonable wait times (36%) say they would pay their own money to speed up the process if they needed orthopedic surgery again in the future
  • Orthopedic surgery patients are split on the value of private surgery clinics, with 49 per cent saying they are a good thing, overall, and the rest (51%) saying they’re a bad thing


  • Part 1 - More than one-in-five had ‘unreasonable wait times
  • Part 2 - Paying for faster service?
  • Part 3 - Most are satisfied with hospitals, surgeons, and outcomes

Link to the poll here: Orthopedic Surgery

Download .PDF (1 MB) with detailed tables, graphs and methodology.

Media Contact:
Shachi Kurl: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) @shachikurl

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Angus Reid Institute -- Bio and Archives | Comments

The Angus Reid Institute is a national, not-for-profit, non-partisan public opinion research foundation established to enhance and encourage better understanding of issues and trends affecting economic, social, governance, philanthropy, public administration, domestic and foreign policy in Canada and its world.

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