UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Wait lists and adult general surgery: is there a socioeconomic dimension in Canada? Sutherland, Jason M.; Kurzawa, Zuzanna; Karimuddin, Ahmer; Duncan, Katrina; Liu, Guiping; Crump, Trafford


Background: Little is known about whether patients’ socioeconomic status influences their access to elective general surgery in Canada. The purpose of this study was to assess the association between socioeconomic status and wait times for elective general surgery. Methods: Analysis of prospectively recruited participants’ data. The setting was six hospitals in the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority, a geographically defined region that includes Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Participants had elective general surgery between October 2013 and April 2017, community dwelling, aged 19 years or older and could complete survey forms. The outcome measure was wait time, defined as the number of weeks between being registered for elective general surgery and surgery date. Results: One thousand three hundred twenty elective general surgery participants were included in the study. The response rate among eligible patients was 53%. Regression analyses found no statistically significant association between patients’ wait time with SES, adjusting for health status, cancer status, surgical priority level, comorbidity burden and demographic characteristics. Participants with proven or suspected cancer status had shorter waits relative to participants waiting for surgery for benign conditions. Participants with at least one comorbidity tended to experience shorter waits of approximately 5 weeks (p 

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