By Dian Cohen
When a majority of voting age Canadians agree there’s a problem, you can be sure that problem will be solved. We’re getting there with our healthcare system. It is now the #1 issue in virtually all surveys and polls. The most recent round of healthcare meetings between provincial and federal ministers will not produce an immediate solution – but there is widespread acknowledgment of the facts, and that’s a start.
A quick review of the facts, courtesy of the Canadian Institute for Health Information, the Fraser Institute, Statistics Canada: In 2020, (the latest year for which comparable data is available), Canada ranked last (10th out of 10 universal health-care countries) on access to specialist visits in under four weeks (38 per cent of patients). We also ranked last on elective surgery in less than four months (62 per cent of patients), far less than in Germany (99 per cent of patients), Switzerland (94 per cent), France (90 per cent) and the Netherlands (87 per cent). None of this is new. The Commonwealth Fund found similar results with Canada ranking last on measures of timely care in 2016, years before the pandemic.