More than one-third of British Columbians worry about health care wait times
Published Monday, September 9, 2019 9:18AM PDT Last Updated Monday, September 9, 2019 10:06AM PDT
People wait in hospital waiting room. (Shutterstock)
While the majority of B.C. residents have some positive things to say about the province's health care system, more than a third are concerned about waiting times, a new research poll says.
According to an online survey conducted by Research Co., 58 per cent of British Columbians say there are some good things in health care, but changes are also needed.
Meanwhile, one-quarter say the health care system is working well and only minor changes are needed, while on the other end of the spectrum, 12 per cent believe the provincial healthcare system needs to be completely rebuilt.
"Residents of Metro Vancouver and southern B.C. are more likely to say that the provincial health care system requires only minor changes (27 per cent each)," said Mario Canseco, president of Research Co. in a news release.
"The proportion is lower in northern B.C. (22 per cent), Vancouver Island (also 22 per cent) and the Fraser Valley (18 per cent)."
The most significant issue for 38 per cent of British Columbians is long waiting times, the survey found. For one-fifth, it was a shortage of doctors and nurses, while 15 per cent said inadequate resources and facilities was their greatest concern.
Back in January, B.C. Anesthesiologists' Society said that since 2002, surgical waiting lists have increased by about three times the growth rate of the provincial population. At the time, more than 85,000 patients were on the waiting list for medically necessary surgeries.
This is the longest waitlist in B.C.'s history, the society said.
To avoid these waits, nearly half of residents said they'd be willing to pay for quicker access to medical services that have long wait times. That proportion includes 56 per cent of those in the highest income bracket.
Another viable solution for a little over a third of respondents was travelling to another country to have quicker access to those backed-up health services.
The study surveyed 800 B.C. adults online between Aug. 28 to Aug. 30. The data was statistically weighted according to census figures and the margin of error is +/- 3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.