Sat. Jul 13th, 2024

Canada Ranks Last in Access to Primary Health Care among Wealthy Nations: Report

A recent international survey conducted by the Canadian Institute for Health Information revealed that Canada falls behind other high-income countries in terms of accessing primary health care.

According to the survey released on Thursday, Canada ranked last among 10 high-income nations in terms of access to primary health care. In 2023, only 86% of Canadians aged 18 and older reported having a regular doctor or medical facility for their health care needs. This marks a decline from 93% in 2016, indicating that approximately four million Canadian adults lacked access to primary care last year.

Comparatively, the average across all 10 countries surveyed was 93%, with the Netherlands leading the pack with 99% of adults reporting access to primary care in 2023.

Furthermore, Canada also ranked last in the ability to secure a same-day or next-day appointment with a doctor or nurse. Only 26% of Canadian adults could access medical attention quickly, a notable decrease from 46% in 2016.

The survey highlighted disparities in access based on household income, revealing that Canadians with lower incomes were less likely to have a primary care provider compared to those with higher incomes. Additionally, 39% of Canadians without primary care reported having at least one chronic health condition, and 29% were taking one or more prescription medications.

Beyond physical health, the survey also delved into mental health concerns, showing that the COVID-19 pandemic and economic stressors have taken a toll on Canadians. In 2023, 29% of adults reported experiencing depression, anxiety, or another mental health condition.

The Commonwealth Fund, a U.S.-based non-profit foundation, conducted the survey in partnership with CIHI, with interviews conducted between March and August 2023. In Canada, 4,820 participants were included in the study.

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