We need to strengthen and improve our public health care system so that everyone has timely access to the quality care that they need.
Evidence-based solutions to surgical and diagnostic wait times include:
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.
Adopting a “first surgeon available” model
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, will reduce hospital bed shortages, cancellations of elective surgeries and, ultimately, wait times for all patients.
Expand multi-disciplinary team-based surgical pathway clinics
A multi-disciplinary team-based approach to surgical care helps better prepare patients for surgery with a focus on maintaining their health status, which may result in reduced hospital surgery cancellations, shorter wait times, more efficient use of existing capacity and lower costs per surgical case.
The BC Government has responded to these calls and is taking important steps to addressing wait times:
In March 2018, the BC Government implemented many of our recommendations and increased their investment in the public health care system in order to decrease wait times for surgeries and diagnostic exams.
BC Health Coalition Press Releases:
- BC Health Coalition says surgical strategy will modernize B.C.’s surgical system
- Action on MRI wait times good for patients, health care system, says BC Health Coalition
BC Government Press Releases:
- New strategy will help more people get the surgeries they need faster
- Thousands more MRI exams to benefit British Columbians
See Resources for more information.