Last year, Canadians waited a median of almost 20 weeks to receive specialist treatment after being referred by a general practitioner, according to a new report from The Fraser Institute. In practical terms, that's the equivalent of getting a referral this week and waiting until May for treatment.
Such waits are endemic to government-run healthcare systems.
Canada's single-payer system, which prohibits private insurance for medically necessary procedures, is a prime example of the pitfalls of total government control. Twenty weeks of waiting is bad enough. But some areas in Canada fare even worse. The median wait for treatment from a specialist following referral from a GP in New Brunswick is nearly a year.
The story is much the same in the United Kingdom's government-run healthcare system. As of September, more than 4 million people were waiting for routine treatments. That's a drastic increase from 2011, when 2.6 million patients were waiting.
These wait times are exacerbated by the nation's shortage of qualified medical personnel.