Sleep medicine is one area where people can suffer potentially deadly delays as a result of the system. In Saskatchewan, for example, there are very few labs able to diagnose sleep apnea. One lab has a waiting list of over 2000 people, and some of these people have been waiting five years for diagnosis and treatment of sleep apnea. Because of the myriad dangers of sleep apnea, Health Canada guidelines recommend a maximum wait time for sleep apnea diagnosis of two to six months.
A relatively new program in Saskatchewan, though, has given thousands of Canadians an option. Instead of waiting in line for diagnosis at a sleep lab, people who suspect sleep apnea can take home a portable testing kit to determine whether they are likely to be suffering from sleep apnea.
The only problem with the program? Funding. Although it has successfully reduce the waiting lists at the area sleep clinic and brought wait times into the recommended length, the provincial government is unsure whether it wants to continue funding the program. With funding up in the air, it is uncertain whether the program will be cut off despite its early success.