Canadians continue to wait for scans in Ontario

A new report issued by the Ontario Association of Radiologists (OAR) shows Ontario patients are waiting longer than ever for radiology procedures, particularly CT and MRI scans.

The report, The Wait Goes On: Ontario's Radiology Waiting List Crisis Update 2004, reviewed waiting lists for barium enema x-ray, ultrasound, bone mineral densitometry, mammography, cardiac nuclear medicine, CT, and MRI examinations in more than 50 communities, urban and rural, throughout Ontario.

OAR found that access to radiology waiting lists has deteriorated over the past year, and the majority of patients waiting for diagnostic services are waiting longer than is deemed medically appropriate.

Ottawa and Cornwall have the longest waits for MRI in Ontario. Some patients in those cities wait up to 72 weeks for an MRI, OAR said.

In Ottawa, patient requisitions are no longer being added to the waiting list, leaving more than 10,000 patients not knowing how many months it will take to get access to an MRI for a diagnosis. Approximately 9,000 other Ottawa patients with appointments are on a nine-month waiting list, according to the organization.

The OAR report also found that:

  • Radiology waiting lists in Ontario have grown in the past year.
  • 94% of patients who need an MRI are waiting longer than is medically appropriate.
  • 89% of patients who need a CT are waiting longer than is medically appropriate.
  • 72% of patients waiting for an ultrasound are waiting longer than is medically appropriate.
  • 90% of radiologists said in the last year that there has been little or no progress in reducing radiology waiting lists.
  • 94% of radiologists said waiting lists will increase (75%) or stay the same (19%) in the next year.
  • Wide fluctuations exist in waiting lists across Ontario for the same radiology examination.

By staff writers
September 17, 2004

Related Reading

Canadian radiologists push for accountability in equipment purchasing, February 27, 2003

Radiology and orthopedics join forces to cut throughput time, June 13, 2001

Copyright © 2004

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