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Tuesday, July 11, 2006
Access to health care services
The new report, Access to Health Care Services in Canada, provides updated results of the experiences of patients waiting for care, based on 12 full months of data for 2005. Preliminary results from the first six months of data collection were reported in The Daily on January 31, 2006.
The updated report confirms that waiting times remain the number one barrier for Canadians who had difficulties in accessing specialized health care services last year.
Between 2003 and 2005, median waiting times for all specialized services under study remained relatively stable at between three and four weeks. (The median is the point where exactly one half of waiting times are higher and one half lower.) Most individuals reported they received care within three months, which was also relatively unchanged.
While most individuals who accessed a specialized service did not experience any difficulties, some did. An estimated 2.8 million people aged 15 or older visited a medical specialist in 2005. Of these, 19% reported that they faced difficulties accessing care.
Of the 1.6 million people who reported that they had non-emergency surgery, 13% reported that they had difficulty accessing care. Similarly, 13% of the 2.2 million people who accessed a diagnostic test also reported difficulties.
Data provided in this report on access to health care services are based on a sub-sample of the 2005 Canadian Community Health Survey, which focused on access to specialized services and first contact services. The specialized services include visits to a specialist for a new illness or condition, non-emergency surgery and selected diagnostic tests.
Selected information is provided at the provincial level, thus allowing for a comprehensive assessment of access to health care across Canada.
Definitions, data sources and methods: survey number 3226.
The report Access to Health Care Services in Canada, January to December 2005, Vol. 1 (82-575-XIE, free) is now available on our website. From the Our Products and Services page, under Browse our Free Internet Publications, choose Health.
To enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Claudia Sanmartin (613-951-6059; fax: 613-951-3959; firstname.lastname@example.org), Health Analysis and Measurement Group.
For more information regarding access to the 2005 Canadian Community Health Survey data, contact Ingrid Ledrou (613-951-6567; fax: 613-951-4198; email@example.com), Health Statistics Division.