Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Waiting Times

Somebody take credit for this because it was forwarded to me;


Anonymous said...

Personal story -

Lived in Canada for a bit a few years ago, had to have an MRI. 9 month wait.

Had to get an MRI this summer. Called for appointment on Friday, walked in on Tuesday for it.

Unknown said...

Try here

by the way, do you have an email to reach you at?

Anonymous said...

Here you go -

Anonymous said...

Obviously the source of the data is vital too.

Anonymous said...

What country is this?

S'not Canada - no private alternative there. ( Well there is, you take a trip south if you can afford it.

CBMTTek said...

This is something that I have said over and over again every time I hear people talk about how perfect socialized medicine will be. I always point out two things.

First is the cost. You have no idea how expensive something is until you get it for free.

Next is the wait. My in-laws are British, and they absolutely adore the NHS. And by absolutely adore, I really mean tolerate it, grudgingly. Unless your condition is life threatening, get in line.

If the National Health Services were so great in Britain, why is there a thriving private health care industry?

Hot Sam said...

They're called "Medical Tourists." It's common for relatively wealthy (or desperate) people to travel from countries with socialist healthcare to the US for treatment.

All scarce resources (including a doctor's time) must be rationed. If they are not rationed by price, some other method must be used. In socialist countries, the most common method is queueing (waiting in line). Other than leaving the country, the best way to cut in line is to bribe the right person.

In Russia, doctors are trained to use extremely conservative treatments which include bogus herbal remedies and useless therapies. This isn't because they've found a less invasive but equally effective method. It's because they had to ration health care.

None of the costs of waiting are included in the costs of providing socialist health care, which are already in deep deficits. If anyone thinks socialized medicine lowers its cost, they're crazy or stupid.

Whenever the marginal cost of something is below its market price, the good will be overconsumed. That causes a waste of resources. Waste not, want not.

Canada has 4 Nobel Prizes for Medicine. Three of those men were either born in, worked in, or studied in the US.

The US has 75 Nobel Prizes for Medicine.

The Soviet Union/Russia, China, and India, are all larger than the US and all socialist, but they have only a handful of Nobel Prizes for Medicine.

The US has 12 of the top 20 pharmaceutical companies.

Where do you suppose most of the socialist countries send their would-be doctors for medical school?

We have, by far, the best medical system in the world!

Serah said...

As a Canadian (une canadienne?), an avid reader, and someone who went through a knee reconstruction surgery in BC, I have a few quips.

I tore a ligament in my knee June 11th playing sports. I was in for an MRI on July 1st. I was then scheduled for reconstructive surgery (hamstring tendon replacing a knee ligament) on July 22nd. Turned out they didn't have to do the full thing, but the point is that I was in for surgery in 6 weeks less a day, within the ideal time according to my orthopaedic surgeon.

And it was all through the public system. Well sort of. In BC, hip and knee surgeries have their own special process which speeds the whole thing up. It was done at a private clinic, but paid for by the public purse. I looked into costs at the fully private clinic we have here - $650 for MRI, plus $8500 for the surgery. Plus tax ;)

Again, this is purely anecdotal, as I see friends with similar (especially sports-caused injuries) linger while their doctor refuses to prescribe an MRI.

And yes, we do have private clinics. There aren't many, and they're not full service. But they exist.

parselmouth said...


Reading through the "about us," etc. of their site, that is exactly what they are doing. It looks like they hook up Canadians patients with US medical services. Notice also the number of dual Canadian/US citizenships in their management.

Anonymous said...

The pic is called Canada+Waiting.gif, so I'm assuming Canada accounts for at least part of the data.

Anonymous said...

I live in Canada now. Had a non-life threatening issue that required an MRI for diagnostic purposes. One week wait. Another time I wound up in emergency with what I thought was a heart attack...thankfully not...I was admitted and hooked up within minutes. Friend of mine recently had a heart attack...diagnostic, angioplasty and he was back home within a week.

Unknown said...

I know someone who waited 10 months for a pain specialist.

Anonymous said...

I'm from Canada, but have lived here the majority of my life and am a proud American. The biggest issue with public medicine in Canada is the incredible abuse...anyone with a sniffle or hang nail will look for a doctor's help, which ties him up and makes others with REAL problems wait in line...what a ridiculous system!!!

Anonymous said...

I'd like to respond to something CBMTTek said: "Next is the wait. My in-laws are British, and they absolutely adore the NHS. And by absolutely adore, I really mean tolerate it, grudgingly. Unless your condition is life threatening, get in line."

Sorry, but in England, even sometimes if your condition is life threatening, you still have to get in line. My best friend lives in London, has his entire life. When he was in his thirties, he was attacked at random in the street. Someone yanked open his car door as he was waiting at a light and started pummeling the crap out of him. He was stuck in traffic and couldn't move, was belted it, just had to sit there and take it until the guy left.

He ended up with several fractured ribs and a nearly punctured lung. If he moved the wrong way, they said, it would puncture and he'd die. The doctor told him that he needed surgery within the next 12 hours - at the most - or he'd die. Only problem was, the soonest they could fit him in would be at least three weeks. So in other words, he was screwed.
Thankfully his parents had always been aware of the National Health Service's faults and had gone to considerable expense to always have private health insurance - it can cost up to four times what we have to pay here in the States. But it saved my friend's life. Without it, the NHS would have just let him die.

And he's not alone. I happen to suffer from a very rare, debilitating, and extremely painful disease that's surely fatal if left untreated. I'm lucky enough to be an American, but so many people I've met who have the same disease weren't quite as lucky as me. They were born in countries with socialized medicine and are dying because of it. I have friends with the same exact disease in Canada, the UK, France, and Australia, all of whom have been either directly denied care, or they're just put through the biggest run around you could imagine, stalling them until finally their cases are so severe that surgery becomes "too risky." Basically they stall you until you die from something that could have been prevented, because hey, then you're not their problem anymore.

So whenever the topic of universal healthcare comes up for debate here in the US, it literally scares me to death. As my friend in London says, if the NHS can't fix you with a sticking plaster (aka band-aid), then you're screwed. If we adopt socialized medicine, we'd be sacrificing saving kids from cancer for the sake of treating more people suffering from colds and hangnails.
But what's even stupider, is that Democrats are pushing socialized medicine as a great equalizer, as if socialized medicine will make all of us equal, as if we'll all have the same access to the same fantastic, wonderful healthcare the wealthy have access to now in this country. No, it will just leave more of us susceptible to the worst healthcare in the world - you know, the type that left thousands dead after a simple heatwave in France a few years back. But the wealthy? They'll still be able to pay for quality health insurance, just like they do in Britain. It'll just make that gap between the rich and the poor that much wider, that much broader, and that much harder for the middle class to obtain. It won't make us more equal, it will just further entrench us in class warfare, while killing people who are suffering from easily treatable ailments. People like me.

But then, according to most liberals I've met, I should have been aborted as a baby, since being born with a genetic condition somehow makes me unworthy of life. So what do they care, right? :)

Anonymous said...

I'm about to move my family (4 kids under 5) from Ontario to Quebec.

The biggest concern?

That we won't have a family doctor in Montreal. Almost 30% of people in the province don't have one.

And IF we find one somehow, someway, someday...

The waiting time between referral by a GP and consultation with a specialist in Quebec was 9.4 weeks in 2008.

And then?

The waiting time in Quebec between a specialist consultation and treatment -the second stage of waiting - was 9.3 weeks in 2008.