I often hear from my fellow Canadians of just how good our health care system is performing. . I try and point out that there are many countries that have better systems than we do and that in certain areas we do very poorly.
A recent survey by the Commwealth Fund in 11 western industrialized countries and carried by The Canadian Institute of Health Information point out some disturbing facts about Canadian wait times , for example:
Canadians not seeing improvements in timely access to physician care
Despite the majority (93%) of Canadians having a regular doctor or place of care,
Canada continues to perform below the international average on 7 out of 8 measures of timely access to medical care.
Less than half (43%) of Canadians could get a same- or next-day appointment with their family doctor or at their regular place of care the last time they needed medical attention, compared with top-performing countries like New Zealand (76%) and the Netherlands (77%).
Access to after-hours care is also more difficult in Canada than in most other countries, with only 1 in 3 (34%) patients able to receive medical care in the evenings, on weekends or on holidays without going to the emergency department.
Canadians visit emergency departments more often than people in other countries, and have the longest reported waits there as well.
More than 40% of Canadians said that the last time they visited an emergency department, it was for a condition that could have been treated by their regular providers if they had been available.
Canadians also report the longest wait times for specialists, with more than half (56%) waiting longer than 4 weeks to see a specialist, compared with the international average of 36%.