Health policies and data

Waiting Time Policies in the Health Sector - What Works?

 

Table of contents | Contact | How to obtain this publication

 

ISBN 978-92-64-17908-0

Publication date:
4 February 2013

340 pages, 55 tables, 47 graphs

 

 

Over the past decade, many OECD countries have introduced new policies to tackle excessive waiting times for elective surgery with some success. However, in the wake of the recent economic downturn and severe pressures on public budgets, waiting times times may rise again, and it is important to understand which policies work.  In addition, the European Union has introduced new regulations to allow patients to seek care in other member states, if there are long delays in treatment.  

This book provides a framework to understand why there are waiting lists for elective surgery in some OECD countries and not in others. It also describes how waiting times are meaured in OECD countries, which differ widely, and makes recommendations for best practice. Finally, it reviews different policy approaches to tackling excessive waiting times. Some countries have introduced guarantees to patients that they will not wait too long for treatment.

These policies work only if they are accompanied by sanctions on health providers to ensure the guarantee is met or if they allow greater choice of health-care providers including the private sector. Many countries have also introduced policies to expand supply of surgical services, but these policies have generally not succeeded in the long-term in bringing down waiting times. Given the increasing demand for elective surgery, some countries have experimented with policies to improve priorisation of who is entitled to elective surgery. These policies are promising, but difficult to implement.

Download the Executive Summary.

Table of contents

Executive summary

PART I. OVERVIEW
Chapter 1. Waiting times for heath care: A conceptual framework
Chapter 2. Measuring waiting times across OECD countries
Chapter 3. A review of waiting times policies in 13 OECD countries

PART II. REVIEW OF WAITING TIMES POLICIES: COUNTRY CASE STUDIES

Chapter 4. Australia
Chapter 5. Canada
Chapter 6. Denmark
Chapter 7. Finland
Chapter 8. Ireland
Chapter 9. Italy
Chapter 10. Netherlands
Chapter 11. New Zealand
Chapter 12. Norway
Chapter 13. Portugal
Chapter 14. Spain
Chapter 15. Sweden
Chapter 16. United Kingdom

 

Contact

Report edited by Luigi Siciliani, Michael Borowitz and Valerie Moran.
For more information, please contact Michael Borowitz, Senior Health Policy Analyst, OECD (michael.borowitz@oecd.org).

 

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Readers can access the full version of "Waiting Time Policies in the Health Sector - What Works?" by choosing from the following options:

 

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