Heather Dawson, Director of Analysis and Reporting, Health Council of Canada
Angus Reid recently published a poll after surveying Canadians about their experiences with the health care system, comparing the satisfaction of patients among provinces. Findings align with those of our recent Health Council of Canada bulletin, How do Canadians Rate the Health Care System? which compared Canadians’ perceptions of the health care system with 10 other OECD countries.
Overall, the Angus Reid study found that Canadians generally feel satisfied with the care they receive once exposed to the health system. In fact, about 90% of Canadians reported that they were satisfied with theirlast visit to a family doctor or a specialist, or to have a diagnostic test.
The results from our bulletin, which looked at survey results from the 2010 Commonwealth Fund International Health Policy Survey, also line up with the Angus Reid study when it comes to dissatisfaction in emergency rooms. According to the Angus Reid study, at least 40% of Canadians said their last experience in an emergency room was not satisfactory. The Commonwealth Fund Survey revealed that almost half of Canadians have had at least one visit to the emergency department in the last two years, making this an extremely important issue affecting large portions of our population. Data from the Commonwealth survey showed that almost half of emergency room users could have been treated elsewhere by their regular care physician had the physician been available, which may be a source of the overcrowding of emergency rooms.
These types of surveys are particularly important to ensuring the Canadian public has a voice in decisions made about their health care system. As governments address health reforms and make new investments in the system, it is important they have the input from the public. The Commonwealth Fund Survey indicates that over half of Canadians believe fundamental changes are required to make the health care system work better, and surveys like these reinforce the message as to where Canadians believe the changes need to happen.