Survey: Canadians want health care safeguards

The most extensive survey available shows Canadians acknowledge there’s no quick fix for the health care system. According to the Health Care in Canada Survey, they are also willing to make tough choices to maintain it for the future.

  • Most Canadians (64 per cent) are satisfied with their Medicare coverage, but they also recognize there is room for improvement.
  • In order to safeguard their health care system for the future, nearly two out of three (65 per cent) Canadians would support shifting from hospital care to less expensive forms of care.
  • A slim majority (53 per cent) said they would prefer to recover from an illness or surgery in their own home.
  • Surprisingly, almost half of those surveyed said they would support the introduction of co-payment for some services that do not currently require direct payment–for example, a visit to their doctor.

No compromise areas
There are some areas in which respondents said they would not compromise. Most said they are not willing to:

  • Decrease the number of services covered by Medicare
  • Limit the choice in the health care system
  • Limit the introductionf new health technology.

The perception of declining health care standards is strong.

  • More than half of Canadians (58 per cent) believe that the overall quality of health care services is falling.

This opinion is shared by the majority of health care professionals (doctors. nurses, pharmacists) included in the survey.

Common standards supported
What’s the solution?

  • The survey showed very strong support (85 per cent) for the federal government to develop common standards for health care delivery and services.
    This opinion is shared by the country’s nurses, who were among several medical organizations participating in the survey.

“Nurses know it is more and more difficult for Canadians to access health services,” says Canadian Nurses Association President, Dr. Ginette Lemire Rodger.

“Unless governments take decisive action to address human resource issues in the health care system, access to quality health care will continue to erode.”

This is the third consecutive year the Health Care in Canada Survey has tracked Canadian
attitudes and opinions on health care from both a provider and user perspective.

POLLARA Strategic Public Opinion and Market Research conducted the national telephone survey in the fall, polling 1,200 adult Canadians and 600 health care professionals (physicians, nurses, and pharmacists).

Overall results for the public are considered accurate to within plus or minus 2.9 per cent, nineteen times out of twenty. The margin of error for health care providers’ results is plus or minus 7.1 per cent, nineteen times out of twenty.

“The Health Care in Canada Survey is the most complete and comprehensive health care survey conducted in Canada and can be regarded as the pre-eminent source of insight to our health care system in this country,” said Don Guy, a senior vice-president in POLLARA.

“Findings in this survey should provide important forward thinking to help governments and their partners build for the future.”