Primary Care Wait Time Partnership
In 2007, The College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC) and The Canadian Medical
Association (CMA) established a partnership to explore wait times in primary medical care – the CFPC-CMA Primary Care Wait Time Partnership (PCWTP). The goal of the Partnership is to advocate for timely access to health care for all Canadians.
The first part of the wait time continuum that can be measured is when the patient schedules his or her first visit with a family physician. A family physician may then refer the patient to specialty care. Both of these stages in the continuum have not been addressed in wait time discussions thus far. The available evidence suggests that one-half of the total waiting time for family physician referral to treatment is from family physician referral to when the patient is seen by the consulting specialist.
Thus, there are three main issues around our focus on primary care wait times:
- Access to primary care for those without a family physician;
- Access to primary care for those with a family physician; and
- Referral from primary to more highly specialized care.