Canada to invest $8M to test diagnostic imaging wait times
The government of Canada plans to invest up to $8 million for two pilot projects in Nova Scotia to test patient-wait-time guarantees in the areas of diagnostic imaging and orthopedic surgical services, to make further progress on the guarantees.

"Our government is committed to working with the provinces and territories to provide patients with the medical attention they need, and deserve, in a timely manner," said Tony Clement, minister of health. "These projects we're announcing today will help Nova Scotian patients who require orthopedic and diagnostic imaging services get the care they need when they need it."

Clement said the first of the two projects aims to improve access to orthopedic surgical services by building a strong, province-wide information network and by testing alternative care options when wait times are exceeded. The second project aims to improve access to diagnostic imaging services, improve efficiencies in diagnostic imaging practices, and engage patients in the process along the way, he said.

In 2007, the government announced a direct investment of more than $1 billion in new funding towards the advancement of patient-wait-time guarantees, which included approximately $30 million for pilot projects that will support provinces and territories to test innovative approaches to advancing and establishing guarantees, according to Clement.

A key component will be facilitating the best outcomes for patients by offering alternative care options, where wait times are exceeded, said Clement. The first two projects under the Patient Wait Time Guarantee Pilot Project Fund advances the government's ongoing commitment to ensure timely access to healthcare, he said.