In reality, within the eight years because the non-profit institute has been measuring public attitudes towards well being care administration, the proportion of Canadians who give their provinces a failing grade on well being has by no means been so excessive — and this opinion spans each province.
“This does actually characterize the echo or the ripple impact, if you’ll, of what’s occurred post-pandemic,” stated Shachi Kurl, president of Angus Reid Institute (AGI).
“Whatever the province they’re in, whether or not it’s Ontarians or British Columbians or Albertans or Quebecers, they’re saying, ‘OK, if the pandemic is over, then we now have an expectation that the health-care system will probably be again as much as snuff.’”
However as COVID-19 circumstances recede and restrictions elevate, as an alternative of seeing the hospitals and clinics gear again as much as full capability, Canadians are as an alternative watching provincial well being techniques cracking beneath a number of pressures. These embody well being employee shortages and burnout, sufferers with continual circumstances who’re sicker because of lack of care throughout lockdowns and tens of millions of Canadians who don’t have entry to a household physician.
“What we’re seeing is issues falling aside and other people signalling to their provincial governments, this isn’t ok. We’re not blissful about this,” Kurl stated.
In March 2020, when the pandemic was declared, for the primary time since 2014, a majority of Canadians surveyed by Angus Reid — 53 per cent — stated they believed their provincial governments have been doing a very good job of managing their respective health-care techniques.
However that honeymoon interval is decidedly over.
Polling outcomes from earlier this month discovered 72 per cent of respondents stated they imagine their provincial governments are doing a ‘poor’ or ‘very poor’ job of managing well being care — the bottom approval score for provincial well being administration since AGI began accumulating this information in 2014.
Throughout the nation, at most, solely three in 10 folks imagine their provincial authorities is doing a very good job of managing well being care.
Residents of Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia have been essentially the most approving of their respective governments’ dealing with of the well being system. However even in these provinces, way more folks — 66 per cent in Saskatchewan and 63 per cent in N.S. — stated their provincial authorities is doing a foul job on well being.
Sharon Batt, adjunct professor of bioethics and political science at Dalhousie College, says she believes it’s not stunning to see such discontent with the well being system, given the toll the pandemic has taken and the earlier stresses already in place throughout the system that COVID-19 has solely exacerbated.
“I believe it’s been clear COVID uncovered numerous weaknesses within the system which have been festering for a very long time,” Batt stated.
“Now, immediately individuals are beginning to take a look at shifting out of that sort of COVID obsession and saying, ‘Whoa, nurses are retiring early, our techniques are all clogged up, most cancers care is falling behind,’ and people issues.”
The polling information additionally suggests well being care stays a high precedence for most individuals throughout the nation, at the same time as considerations about COVID-19 have pale.
Certainly, half of all respondents ranked well being care as a high provincial challenge, even when requested about skyrocketing inflation and prices of residing.
This might current a pointed problem to premiers as authorities coffers face the headwinds of significant financial pressures simply as Canadians are demanding extra of their well being techniques, Kurl stated.
“It’s really, if something, a time the place provincial governments are going to be signalling that we could must be reducing again,” she stated.
“And so in opposition to that backdrop, you’re not more likely to see folks feeling very reassured about what their provincial governments are ready to supply them by way of results.”
Batt says she worries some governments going through indignant voters and a system in want of significant restore may be tempted to take a look at privatizing some health-care providers to ease pressures.
“I believe that people who find themselves selling privatized well being care are sort of ready within the wings,” Batt stated.
“They might give some short-term reduction. However I believe on the entire, that’s in all probability not the route most Canadians need the system to go and I believe it’s not one of the best ways in the event you’re trying from an fairness perspective and long-term options.”
Provinces ought to be keen to work extra collaboratively with the federal authorities on well being care, quite than balking at Ottawa’s rising pattern of committing new funding with strings hooked up, Batt stated.
The premiers have been collectively calling on the federal authorities to extend the Canada Well being Switch, whereas Ottawa has as an alternative chosen to focus on new well being spending in particular areas — corresponding to a $2-billion top-up introduced this spring to assist clear backlogs in surgical procedures and diagnostic checks which have amassed throughout the nation as a result of pandemic.
“For those who’re going to deal with a few of these issues, the federal authorities can’t simply be shovelling out cash and simply saying to the provinces, ‘Do what you’ll with it,’” Batt stated.
“I believe there needs to be a recognition that … the federal authorities and the provinces are sharing this entire challenge. And I believe the general public needs to see a spirit of collaboration.”
The ballot, performed on-line by the Angus Reid Institute between June 7 to 13, 2022, surveyed 5,032 Canadian adults who’re members of Angus Reid Discussion board. For comparability functions solely, a chance pattern of this measurement would carry a margin of error of plus or minus two proportion factors, 19 instances out of 20.
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