Wait Times for Cancer Treatment in Canada
Like other countries, the Canadian government is now recognizing the urgent need to implement policies to decrease wait times – however, so far no action has been taken. And so it remains just another example of the many challenges currently facing the Canadian health care system: Canada was recently ranked "10th out of 11 wealthy nations in terms of health care" in a study sponsored by the Commonwealth Fund. Beating out only the US for quality of health care – second-last place does not inspire confidence.
- Long wait times are part of the problem, with Canada having the "the highest proportion of patients with long delays to see specialists." (56% of patients wait more than four weeks; the international average is 36%.) Needing to wait this long for diagnosis and treatment results in many cancer patients not getting the treatment they need in time.
- And yet the same study showed that nearly 75% believe the quality of Canadian health care is either good or excellent. This false perception – largely due to a lack of comparison with other countries – means that these systemic problems will remain that much longer. If most Canadian citizens are unaware of these issues, there is little outside incentive for the government to create change.
For this reason it is necessary to educate Canadian citizens about the current failings of their standard health care and what their rights are to better quality care.
Canadian Health Care System Problems
The Canadian government itself has acknowledged these shortcomings in a study/proposal titled The Health of Canadians: The Federal Role (requisitioned by the Canadian government and presented to the Ministry of Health). The report concludes that the government is effectively negligent in its treatment of cancer, if the Canadian government doesn’t do the following, immediately:
- Do more to decrease wait times for access to cancer diagnostics and treatments
- Provide patients with more current and effective diagnostic and treatment options
Moreover, if the Canadian government fails to move forward on these actions immediately, Canadian citizens are entitled to petition the courts to:
- Permit them access to scientifically proven treatments outside of mainstream cancer treatment without restriction
- Be granted financial compensation (by their insurance provider or federal health care coverage) for these tests and treatments
Because of this, there are currently discussions going on at the federal level about:
- Funding scientifically proven cancer tests and treatment
- Revamping the system entirely to provide these life-saving tests and treatments within the system
These solutions mean that the precision oncology services currently offered by private companies like CTOAM would become the standard cancer treatment in Canada. And both of these approaches echo the suggestions made by the European OECD to integrate private companies into standard health care so that more resources are available to patients.
Currently, however, the Canadian health care system is still failing patients. Private companies like CTOAM exist to ensure everyone has access to superior options than standard health care is currently able to provide.
If you or a loved one has received a cancer diagnosis and would like more information on accessing the best tests and treatments, please email or call us today. You can also book a free consultation with Director of Scientific Research, Alex Rolland.