Canadian medical wait lists extend to psychiatric treatment

Canadians seeking psychiatric treatment faced the same lengthy wait times as patients waiting for surgical treatment in 2007, according to research published by The Fraser Institute.


  • The total wait time for Canada as a whole for psychiatry rose to 18.5 weeks in 2007 from 17.5 weeks in 2006.
  • The shortest waiting times were recorded in Quebec (15.9 weeks), Ontario (16.7 weeks), and British Columbia (20.2 weeks).
  • The longest total waits were found in Newfoundland (39.2 weeks), Prince Edward Island (38.7 weeks), and Alberta (26.7 weeks).

  • The waiting time to see a psychiatrist on an urgent basis was 2 weeks for Canada as a whole.
  • The waiting time for referrals on an elective basis was eight weeks.
  • The longest waiting times for elective referrals was in Newfoundland (19 weeks), followed by Saskatchewan (13 weeks), and New Brunswick and Alberta (11 weeks).

    With regard to the wait time for certain psychiatric treatments after an appointment with a specialist:
  • The longest waiting times were found in Prince Edward Island (30.7 weeks), Newfoundland (20.2 weeks), and Alberta (15.7 weeks).
  • The shortest waits were found in Quebec (8.9 weeks), Ontario (9.7 weeks), and British Columbia (10.2 weeks). The waiting time for Canada as a whole was 10.5 weeks.

    Among specific treatments surveyed, patients waited longest to enter a housing programme (18.8 weeks) or a sleep disorders programme (16.6 weeks), according to Fraser, while the wait times were shortest for pharmacotherapy (3.9 weeks), and admission to a day programme (7.0 weeks).

    Source: Medical wait lists extend to psychiatric treatment; Canadians waited more than 18 weeks for care in 2007, Fraser Institute, November 19, 2007.

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    FMF Policy Bulletin/ 04 December 2007
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