In Newfoundland and Labrador, some patients wait for a year to get the treatment they require.
Amie Richards is a young parent in the Conception Bay North area who’s eight-year-old daughter Minxie Tuttle has been on many medical wait lists in the past number of years.
Minxie has severe quadriplegic mixed choreoathetoid and bronchopulmonary dysplasia, a disease which requires a procedure called a sleep study.
It took two years and a trip to Ottawa for Minxie to undergo the sleep study procedure – an overnight exam where doctors monitor what is going on in the subject’s body and brain while they sleep.
“She was hooked up to different sensors with a band across her stomach and chest,” said Richards. “The purpose of it all is to figure out if she stops breathing at night. If she does, why does this happen and what can they fix it.”
Richards says something needs to be done to improve these lengthy wait lists, and that we deserve the same technology as the rest of the country.
“There’s a lack of available of resources,” said Richards. “We should have the same technology here as they have in Halifax and Ontario, there’s a demand for it.”
She also says there’s a need for more availability for specialized treatments.
“From here to Ontario there were only three hospitals that offered the sleep study,” said Richards.
While the sleep study was a specialized treatment, others in line for more routine procedures in the province also have a fair wait ahead of them.
Jennifer D’Silvia is the manager of emerging issues at the Canadian Institute for Health Information based in Ottawa. The institute tracks medical wait times for priority procedures – hip replacement, knee replacement, hip fracture, cataracts and bypass surgery – for Newfoundland and Labrador and the country as a whole.
“We kind of consider them to be like a representative of wait times for a variety of different things,” said D’Silvia.
In 2016 the benchmark wait time for residents of Newfoundland and Labrador for a knee replacement was 182 days, but 90 per cent of patients had to wait 269 days.
However, it’s not all bad news. The benchmark for a bypass surgery in Newfoundland and Labrador is 182 days, but 90 per cent of patients were treated within 83 days.