Canada ranks low in pa­tient wait times: re­port

The Hamilton Spectator - - CANADA & WORLD -

TORONTO — A new re­port sug­gests Cana­di­ans have the long­est wait times for med­i­cal at­ten­tion in emer­gency de­part­ments and for re­fer­rals to spe­cial­ists among pa­tients in 11 in­dus­tri­al­ized coun­tries. The re­port by the Cana­dian In­sti­tute for Health In­for­ma­tion found 29 per cent of Cana­di­ans said they had to wait four hours or longer to be seen by a prac­ti­tioner dur­ing their most re­cent emer­gency depart­ment visit. That’s al­most three times the in­ter­na­tional av­er­age of 11 per cent of pa­tients who re­ported at least a fourhour wait to see a health-care provider. Pa­tients in France fared the best, with just one per cent hav­ing to wait that long. Cana­di­ans also re­ported the long­est de­lays to see spe­cial­ists, with 56 per cent wait­ing longer than four weeks, com­pared with the in­ter­na­tional av­er­age of 36 per cent. How­ever, al­most three-quar­ters of Cana­di­ans rated the qual­ity of care as very good or ex­cel­lent — sig­nif­i­cantly higher than the in­ter­na­tional av­er­age. The re­port is based on 2016 sur­veys of adults in 11 de­vel­oped coun­tries com­piled by the Com­mon­wealth Fund, a pri­vate U.S. foun­da­tion that pro­motes high-qual­ity and ac­ces­si­ble health care. “While Cana­di­ans might think we have the best health-care sys­tem in the world, in­ter­na­tional com­par­isons help to pro­vide im­por­tant per­spec­tive,” said Tracy John­son, di­rec­tor of health sys­tem anal­y­sis and emerg­ing is­sues at CIHI. “This re­port high­lights sig­nif­i­cant vari­a­tions in re­sults, both within Canada and be­tween coun­tries.”

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