The Canadian Medical Association reports: Returning wait times to pre-pandemic levels for six key procedures will cost at least $1.3B, says a new report commissioned by the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) on the backlog caused by COVID-19.

“There are no doubts that the impact of the pandemic will be felt for years to come. But for many Canadians, it could become a serious quality of life issue as they wait for their procedures.” – Dr. Ann Collins, CMA president

The Deloitte study,   Clearing the Backlog: The Cost to Return Wait Times to Pre-Pandemic Levels, examined the financial investment needed to return procedure wait times to pre-pandemic levels, within one year.

It considered six procedures: coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG), cataract surgeries, hip replacements, knee replacements, MRI scans and CT scans. Collectively, these account for nearly 80% of the diagnostic and surgical care provided in hospitals across Canada.

The report found, for example, that patients are waiting 75 days longer for cataract surgeries and 33 more days for CT scans than they did before the pandemic. The cost to return these wait times to pre-pandemic levels would be $357.4M and $377.0M. respectively.

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