Additional funding of at least $ 1.3 billion is needed to restore wait times for diagnostic and surgical care to pre-COVID-19 pandemic levels, according to a study by the Canadian Medical Association ( AMC).
The study notes that due to “the reallocation of hospital resources in the spring of 2020 to prepare for COVID-19, many interventions have been canceled in order to keep the capacity of facilities at an adequate level.”
The backlog caused by the first wave of COVID-19 represents nearly 80% of diagnostic and surgical care provided in Canadian hospitals.
The report looked at six interventions to see how they were affected by COVID-19. These are coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG), cataract surgery, hip and knee replacement surgery, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computed tomography (CT).
“There is no doubt that the effects of the pandemic will be felt for years to come. However, they could seriously affect the quality of life of many Canadians awaiting intervention, ”CMA President Ann Collins said in a statement on Monday.
The report analyzes the volume and cost of the backlog caused by COVID-19 and the financial investment required to “restore pre-pandemic wait times within a year.”
As an illustration, it takes an additional 75 days for cataract surgery and 33 more days for a CT scan.
The study anticipates a budget extension of 15% of the initial cost to bring the wait times for the six targeted interventions to their pre-pandemic level. This amount may vary by province.
“It is in Ontario and Quebec that the funding will have to be the highest, because they are the most populous provinces,” said Dr. Collins.