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45% of British Columbians think health-care quality is declining

A new report suggests British Columbians are unsatisfied by the quality of province’s health-care system.

The study, conducted by the Canadian polling firm Leger, shows 45 per cent of surveyed British Columbians feel the quality of health-care services has been declining in the last five years. Just 11 per cent feel it has improved in that time frame, and 36 per cent of respondents said they felt health-care service has remained the same.

The online survey had 2,614 participants across Canada and was commissioned by the Premiers of Canada, including B.C. Premier John Horgan.

Unsurprisingly, 72 per cent of British Columbians surveyed believed the COVID-19 pandemic has had “a large impact on the health-care system.” The report also found four in five respondents are worried about being able to get health-care services when they are needed.

“There are some problems in the system, in particular around waitlists, staffing, and long-term care homes,” said Andrew Enns, executive vice-president for Leger Winnipeg.

“I think (Canadians) expect governments both federally and provincially are going to roll up their sleeves and do something about this.”

Canada’s premiers continue to push the federal government to increase the Canada Health Transfer from 22 per cent to 35 per cent of health-care costs. Horgan says he’s confident Ottawa will give provinces more health-care dollars, but he’s not sure when.

“There has been a reluctance to engage in fixing the system until we got through the pandemic, but we’re in year two and going into year three,” said Horgan. “We need to get on this.”

Just 10 per cent of those surveyed believe the federal government is giving its fair share of health-care funding to the provinces and territories.

Sixty-five per cent of respondents believe that individual provinces and territories are best able to determine their health-care spending needs, whereas 11 per cent feel the federal government should decide how the money is used.

The BC Nurses’ Union says any influx in federal cash must not only go toward recruitment, but also making health-care jobs sustainable for existing workers. Many of them have left the industry as a result of burnout.

“Currently, we just do not have enough nurses to safely care for the citizens of B.C.,” said Adriane Gear, vice-president of the BCNU.

Since 1960, federal health-care funding for provinces and territories has dropped from 50 per cent to 22 per cent. Top Stories

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