Letter to the Editor of Ottawa Life
Re: Report Card on Wait Times in Canada Omits Important Developments (published on July 3, 2014)
Letter published on July 9, 2014
Doctors Don Dick and Linda Woodhouse quite rightly note the great work Alberta has been undertaking to improve the standardization, collection and utilization of access and other health system performance related data.
However, I wish to respond to their comment on the tone of the 2014 WTA report card, released June 3, and the notion of Canada receiving a failing grade on making structural changes to support timely access to care.
In fact, the WTA reported that there has been some improvement in lowering wait times in most provinces from the previous two years. Furthermore, the WTA noted that while there has been some progress on wait times in Canada, structural changes are also required if improvements in wait times are to be sustained. Our report also called on the need to close the gap in progress on wait times among provinces and between Canada and other leading countries. While we salute and support the progress that has been made in many provinces, including Alberta, there remain gaps within regions and among provinces that need to be addressed.
The WTA agrees that wait time data and other quality related data are required to support the fostering of a culture of continuous improvement in health care. Indeed, we support providing Canadians, providers and decision makers with a more comprehensive range of data on which to measure and improve health system performance.
It is also important to continue to highlight the shining examples in Canada on innovative care, such as the Alberta Bone and Joint Health Initiative, in order to spread the progress across the country and benefit all Canadians.
Dr. Chris Simpson
Chair, Wait Time Alliance and President-elect, Canadian Medical Association