Understanding Wait Times
What is a wait list?
A wait list is how doctors and hospitals keep track of people who need specialized medical care, such as heart surgery, MRIs, and hip and knee replacements. A wait list allows doctors to prioritize their patients by the urgency of the treatment they need. There is no single wait list for all British Columbia residents scheduled for surgery.
What is a wait time?
A wait time is how long you must wait for a specific procedure. You may experience several separate wait times from when you first notice a health problem until your treatment is completed. In British Columbia, as in other jurisdictions, we measures the time you wait from when the procedure is formally booked in the hospital, until it is actually carried out. (See the Wait Times Clock below)
Why do we have wait times?
Wait times are only a symptom of problems in managing how patients get access to health care. Wait times grow when there are more patients needing health services than the system can treat. Increasing demand may come from a variety of sources such as an aging population that relies more on health care, or from advancements that allow doctors to diagnose more illnesses.
What is a reasonable wait time?
Wait times depend on the type of procedure and the circumstances of the individual patient. British Columbia is in the process of developing standards for the optimal time in which a patient should be treated for a particular procedure. These standards will serve as targets and tell you how the health system is performing.
Who will go on a wait list?
A patient needing emergency surgery is treated as quickly as possible and does not go on a wait list. Anyone needing surgery or treatment that is not an emergency will be placed on a wait list.
What influences my wait time?
Wait times are influenced by a variety of factors such as :
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