Patient wait times guarantees

In the spring of 2007, all provinces and territories publicly committed to establish a Patient Wait Times Guarantee in at least one clinical area, including cancer radiation therapy, cataract surgery, cardiac care, joint replacement, and diagnostic imaging. Patient wait times guarantees are understood to consist of two key components:

  1. a defined timeframe, and
  2. access to alternate options of care (recourse) should that timeframe be exceeded.

Budget 2007 provided over $1 billion to support the implementation of Patient Wait Times Guarantees. Funding included:

  • A $612 million Patient Wait Times Guarantee Trust (2007/08 – 2009/10) to help jurisdictions introduce guarantees.

  • A $400 million enhancement to Canada Health Infoway for the development of information systems and electronic health records to assist in advancing Patient Wait Times Guarantees.

  • A Patient Wait Times Guarantee Pilot Project Fund (2007/08 – 2009/10) of up to $30 million, designed to assist provinces and territories in testing innovative approaches to advancing and establishing Patient Wait Times Guarantees. This Fund supported pilot projects in eight provinces and territories which tested guarantees in a variety of clinical areas.

The PWTG Trust and PWTG Pilot Project Fund, both of which ran from 2007/08- 2009/10, have helped increase certainty of access to care for Canadians by providing support to provinces and territories for the building blocks needed to help meet guarantees (e.g. building radiation vaults, setting up inter-jurisdictional collaboration agreements) and by contributing to the knowledge base of guarantee-related tools, strategies and best practices, all of which have helped provinces and territories as they established their guarantees.

In addition, the Government of Canada has provided direct support for pilot projects that addressed wait times for paediatric surgery and tested guarantees for diabetes and prenatal care in a number of First Nations communities.

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