Healthcare survey shows room for improvement
The results of an independently run online consultation with the community on healthcare reveal that while slightly more that half of the residents are satisfied with the healthcare offered in the valley, there are some areas in which many many are not.
Dr. Rithesh Ram commissioned Abacus Data to undertake an online survey on healthcare in the valley. The consultation took place from February 24 to March 13 of this year and in that short window, it received 1,306 responses. According to Dr. Ram, the number of response is indicative of the concerns.
“The amount of people that filled out the survey was two and half times more than the company thought would be the case with the timeframe they left it open, so that was a significant sample,” he said.
The survey showed 74 per cent were satisfied with the quality of healthcare they received at the Drumheller Health Centre, and 69 per cent were satisfied with the care they received outside of the hospital.
Some areas of concern were wait times to see their family physician (81 per cent dissatisfied), the process of booking appointments (66 per cent dissatisfied), and the choice of physicians in town (61 per cent dissatisfied).
“It basically says things are good, but there are areas requiring significant improvement,” he said. Dr. Ram says there weren’t too many surprises in the data.
“Everyone in the valley has heard or expressed some of these concerns over the last 10-20 years, well before I even got here,” he said. “More than anything it validates what the community has been saying for years.”
Of those surveyed 6 per cent
believed heath care has improved over the last year, while 37 per cent believe it has gotten worse, and 57 per cent believed it has stayed the same.
The survey also showed that 90 per cent of respondents believed Drumheller needs more physicians, and 70 per cent say there is a need for more female doctors.
In the end, Dr Ram says “it is up to the community to advocate for their health, and that includes telling the province that Drumheller needs more doctors, and whatever improvement in services they need to be healthier as a community.”
The survey also weighs into the area of what is acceptable for wait times for appointments. About 52 per cent say that time of under 5 days was acceptable for a routine appointment, while 76 per cent felt an urgent appointment should be possible on the same day.
That data showed of those surveyed, 60 per cent say they have waited almost 13 days for an urgent appointment.
Dr. Rithesh Ram