A new report from the Fraser Institute provides some discouraging numbers for Saskatchewan residents who may be waiting for a hip or knee replacement.
According to the report released this week, people are waiting on average 19.8 weeks from the time they see their doctor to the day they have their surgery. This represents of increase of almost three weeks compared to 2016.
Nationally the wait time for medically necessary treatment is 21.2 weeks.
By comparison, Canadians waited 9.3 weeks in 1993 when the Fraser Institute first reported wait times for medically necessary elective treatments.
Speaking to battlefordsNOW Bacchus Barua with the Fraser Institute said "it's disheartening to see wait times creeping up again but not unexpected."
Barua said the province's Saskatchewan Surgical Initiative earlier this decade showed promise in dealing with the issue by introducing a central registry for pooling referrals to available physicians and contracting out to third party private clinics.
"That helped wait times get down to as low as 13.6 weeks in 2015," said Barua. "But we always cautioned this was a band aid solution because these efforts were within the confines of what the province could do with the Canada Health Act."
The Fraser Institute wants Canada to pursue models followed in some other countries where the private sector is embraced to act as a release valve for when the universal public system is under pressure.
Prince Edward Island and British Columbia have the longest waiting times in the country at 32.4 and 26.6 weeks respectively.
The Fraser Institute is an independent Canadian public policy research and educational organization.
On Twitter: @nigelmaxwell
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