Vancouver, BC – In a recent Ipsos Reid survey conducted on behalf of the BC Medical Association (BCMA) 60% of British Columbians polled said they disapprove of the job the provincial government is doing to manage the health care system. But respondents were split when it came to the issue of whether the government should limit health care spending to 50% of the total provincial budget (45% support, 40% oppose).
Chief among the public’s top-of-mind health care system concerns are wait times (25%), doctor shortages (18%) and an aging population (10%). When asked to identify the top three priorities for dealing with the impact of the baby boomers on the health care system they ranked reducing surgical wait lists as the top priority at 64% followed by ensuring everyone has a family doctor at 49% and ensuring quick access in emergency rooms at 43%. Expanding prevention services was significantly less important with only 35% of people polled saying this should be a top priority for government.
On the issue of physician shortages, one-in-ten British Columbians indicate they are currently looking for a family doctor. And, 78% of those polled want their family doctor to be the person coordinating their overall health care.
Some 86% of British Columbians support the provision of government incentives to encourage people to take actions that improve their health but they are split on whether the health care system should treat all people the same regardless of whether their personal behavior had contributed to needing care (50% agree, 44% disagree).
“Our government should be concerned that such a large number of British Columbians believe it is doing a poor job at managing the health care system. The top issues of wait times, long waits in Emergency Rooms and shortages of physicians and other health care professionals have remained largely the same for years,” said Dr. Nasir Jetha, President of the BCMA. “So the question government needs to answer is how prepared is it to work with doctors, nurses and others in the system to make progress on the day-to-day problems that aren’t going away.”
The survey on the public’s position on key issues in health care was conducted in preparation for the BCMA’s submission to the Select Standing Committee on Health that will hold hearings later this fall. The Ipsos Reid survey was conducted August 16 – 22 with a sample of 822 British Columbian adults with a margin of error of +/-3.5%, 19 times out 20.
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