It is surprising that the opinions about our health care system have grown progessively more positive when the media and others talk about the system being in crisis. Obviously the problems are overall not so bas as to make people feel more negative rather than less with the system.
I am in a rural area where we are supposed to suffer from doctor shortages. We do but I have no trouble getting a personal doctor and I can get an appointment the same day or next day. Of course to visit a specialist I may need to wait a short while and for elective surgery there often is a long wait. I waited over six months for a gall bladder operation but I also waited for a doctor I knew and trusted who had a long waiting list. Overall though I am well satisfied and also blessed that I am not broke from medical bills.
Canadian patients wait, but are mostly satisfied
Updated Thu. Nov. 1 2007 4:17 PM ET
CTV.ca News Staff
Canadians wait longer for elective surgery than residents of most other industrialized nations, finds a new survey from the Commonwealth Fund.
The annual look at seven industrialized countries found Canadians were more likely than patients in other countries to have to wait for care but rarely had to forgo medical care because of cost, unlike other countries such as the U.S.
The survey was conducted earlier this year, with Harris Interactive researchers interviewing patients by phone in Australia, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States, as well as 3,000 Canadian participants.
The survey found public perceptions in Canada and New Zealand about their health-care systems have grown steadily more positive in the past decade. Their positive views are now comparable to views in Australia and the United Kingdom.
U.S. adults have some of the most negative views about their system of any of the countries surveyed.
Americans also spend double what people in other industrialized countries do on health care, but have more trouble seeing doctors and go without treatment more often, the survey found.
Patients in the Netherlands struggle the most with paperwork, while German and U.S. adults report the most rapid access to timely elective surgery.
No country emerged as a "winner," Karen Davis, the Commonwealth Fund's president, told a media briefing Wednesday.
"Every country does well on some things, doesn't do well on other things," she said. "What we really need to do is not deny we have problems, but ... look at the countries that have good performance on those dimensions and try to learn from them."
The survey found that the U.K. and Canada had the worst record for waiting times with 15 per cent and 14 per cent of respondents in each respective country reporting having to wait for more than six months for elective treatment. The Netherlands was the best with only two per cent of patients saying they waited that long for surgery.
Canadian and U.S. adults were the most likely to have gone to a hospital emergency room in the past two years, and to say that they went to the ER for care their doctor could have provided if available.
"The high rates appear to be straining ER capacity: Forty-six per cent of Canadians reported waiting two hours or more in the ER to be seen," the report said.
The report called Canadians' high use of ERs for health care management a "symptom of a primary care system under stress."
Sixty per cent of Canadians believed fundamental change was needed to the system -- the highest among the seven nations - but just 12 per cent said the system should be completely rebuilt. That compares with 34 per cent of Americans who felt their health care needed a total overhaul.
And yet, 80 per cent of Canadian respondents reported they were very or somewhat confident they would get high-quality, safe health care.
The Commonwealth Fund is a Washington-based foundation that supports research on health systems.
The report's findings are published in the journal, Health Affairs.