We face longest ER waits

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 four-hour 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, which provides an opportunity to learn from ... higher-performing jurisdictions."


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