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B.C. wonders if its health care is worth the wait

As surgery wait times continue to climb, British Columbians are expressing increasing dissatisfaction with the state of Canadian health care — though not necessarily the health care services they actually receive — according to two studies released yesterday.

As surgery wait times continue to climb, British Columbians are expressing increasing dissatisfaction with the state of Canadian health care — though not necessarily the health care services they actually receive — according to two studies released yesterday.

Authored by Angus Reid and the Fraser Institute, the two reports paint a somewhat contradictory picture of the state of B.C. health care, in which British Columbians are waiting longer than ever for services that are regarded almost universally favourably.

Described as the largest-ever survey of its kind, the two-year Angus Reid study found that while 60 per cent of British Columbians rated the state of health care in their province as “poor,” more than 90 per cent of B.C. respondents still claimed to be “satisfied” with the quality of the province’s doctors, specialists and hospitals.

The reviews come at a time when the public is waiting longer than ever for such services, however.

According to the Fraser institute’s annual national wait-times survey, in 2010 British Columbians waited an average of 18.8 weeks between the time they first saw a family doctor until the time they ended up receiving surgery.

Angus Reid spokesman Mario Canseco argued that “horror stories” about health care’s deficiencies, coupled with an ongoing political debate, have resulted in public opinions that are often harshest in the abstract.

“Once you get to the doctor, however, you tend to forget about the policy side of things,” Canseco said.

 
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