When it comes to access to bariatric surgery in Canada, our country’s report card could be better. The highest score we received was a C for waiting times between consultations and surgery, which doesn’t even apply to all provinces. Part of the reason for our low scores is that despite the fact of obesity in this country, not one province considers it a chronic disease, which has a major effect on how obesity patients receive health care.
Despite the Millions of Obese Patients in Canada, there are only 113 Bariatric Surgeons
Of the millions of obese patients in the country, every single one of them must rely on the training and expertise of a very low percentage of surgeons. That is not to say that these physicians are fairly spread out throughout the country. For instance, bariatric surgery is not even available in PEI or the territories. This is not reflective of the number of patients who are eligible for bariatric surgery. On average, bariatric surgery is only available to 0.54% of the population of Canadians who qualify.
Limited to No Access to Prescription Medication
There are only two approved anti-obesity medications in Canada. However, neither of these are offered by provincial drug benefit plans, and only less than 20% of Canadians with private insurance have access to these two drugs. Canada and the provinces/territories all scored an F on access to anti-obesity medications.
Access to Obesity Specialists
There are only 40 specialists in the country who are qualified and trained to provide obese patients with interdisciplinary care. The majority of these services entail dietetic services, while mental health support and cognitive behavioural therapy access is severely limited. Interdisciplinary treatment for obesity management is simply unavailable for the many people who need it, and Canadian physicians are just not seeking formal training in obesity management.
Clinique Michel Gagner is committed to providing our Canadian and international patients with superior service in bariatric surgery. Fill out this patient questionnaire or contact us today for more information.