Canada’s healthcare system was ranked 29th out of 30 European nations in the inaugural Euro Canada Health Consumer Index, issued in January by the Frontier Centre for Public Policy (FCPP) & Europe’s Health Consumer Powerhouse (HCP). For Canadians, who have been raised to think that our healthcare system is the greatest in the world, the findings were shocking. Canada came placed at number 23 out of 30 countries, just ahead of a few rising economies in eastern Europe including Slovakia, Romania, Lithuania, Poland, Bulgaria, and Latvia. However, it was still unclear how the healthcare systems in each of our provinces compared to one another. The HCP and FCPP have just issued their annual Canada Health Consumer Index, which rates the quality of healthcare in each province. The research shed light on the current situation of health care in Canada and the wide variations that patients face from one province to the next.
Our research shows that Ontario excels beyond all other provinces in terms of primary care delivery and ranks top in terms of service quality. Although there is space for improvement, especially in lowering waiting times, Ontario has the greatest healthcare in Canada from the standpoint of the customer. The second and third positions are separated by a razor-thin margin, with British Columbia and Nova Scotia. When it came to medical results, the most crucial set of indicators, British Columbia tied for first with Nova Scotia, and when it came to creating an environment where patients’ rights are respected, British Columbia also matched for a second.
Thanks to generous healthcare offerings, second only to Ontario’s, Nova Scotia was able to finish in the top five. Newfoundland is in tenth place on the Index, followed by Saskatchewan, Quebec, and Manitoba. Each of these four provinces has its unique set of strengths and limitations, much as the best achievers used distinct strategies to achieve their results. Newfoundland has a promising track record in patient rights but an abysmal record of medical results and delivers inadequate healthcare to its citizens when compared to the rest of the country. Saskatchewan, on the other hand, has major issues in primary care service, waiting times, and general generosity, despite being quite adept at deploying new drugs.
When it comes to results and primary care, Quebec fares the poorest in Canada, yet the province does exceptionally well in terms of wait times. Primary care in Manitoba is excellent, yet the province ranks only eighth for wait times and last for effective medication utilisation.
There is considerable variation across the country when it comes to healthcare provision, with no two provinces offering the same services. It’s important to remember that even the top-scoring provinces have room for improvement and that no country in the Index has achieved a perfect score in every category.
When compared to their European counterparts, all Canadian provinces have unacceptably long delays for diagnosis and treatment, and the vast majority impose considerable waits and cost hurdles to the effective use of up-to-date drugs, including the top-ranked provinces. Seeing how each state fared in comparison to others in terms of healthcare spending per resident was equally shocking. Both Ontario and British Columbia, the top two finishers overall, also rate highly in the “Bang for the Buck” ranking, implying that they outperform the national average without incurring notably higher costs. Although it ranks seventh overall, Quebec takes second place in the BFB rankings because of its relatively low healthcare costs and average quality of service.
Voters in Quebec will have to decide if they think it’s a smart idea to give off basic medical care for a lower monthly premium. In spite of being in the centre of the pack for overall performance, Alberta ranks ninth for value for money since it has the highest healthcare expenditures per capita but the lowest returns. Rich Alberta pays a relatively small share of its GDP on health care, yet the province also boasts the largest health spending per resident. There was a correlation between expenditure and wait times, which we also discovered.
Manitoba, Alberta, and Saskatchewan, the three provinces with the longest wait times, spend significantly more than the national average, while Quebec, Prince Edward Island, and Nova Scotia, the three provinces with the shortest wait times, spend less than the national average, particularly Quebec and PEI. Based on these findings, it is obvious that a province’s capacity to deliver timely consultations, diagnoses, and treatments is not directly related to its ability to spend vast sums of money on healthcare. It appears that ever-increasing healthcare spending without accompanying fundamental structural improvements is not the answer. Financial considerations are important, but they are not sufficient if we are to improve healthcare overall and reduce waiting times.