20% of respondents would fire even their doctors for not meeting healthcare benchmarks, CARP poll finds


March 10, 2009

TORONTO, ON: In a clear call for accountability in the healthcare system, 1,940 CARP members responding to an online poll published today want more done with their healthcare dollars, online access to their medical records and legislated service benchmarks with consequences.

CARP sends its electronic newsletter, CARP ActionOnline, to 50,000 opt in subscribers updating them on the latest advocacy issues. The survey included in the newsletter has attracted increasing numbers of respondents.

The latest issue covered the Value for Money Report issued by the Health Council of Canada which asked for input on the question: “Are Canadians getting the best value for the $172-billion they now spend annually on health care?” CARP decided to get the answers for them.

A majority [57%] do not believe that throwing more money at the healthcare system will fix it. Instead, the respondents supported one of three options – multi-disciplinary health care teams [36%], more home care [23.5%] and more prevention and wellness promotion [35%].

“This reinforces our position that there are smarter ways to spend the burgeoning health care budget [now $172 Billion] and people do not want to choose between spending more money or cutting services. There is a third way to relieve pressure on the healthcare budget that policy makers must consider,” said Susan Eng, Vice President, Advocacy of CARP.

An overwhelming majority [96%] supported legislated service benchmarks, such as wait times guarantees – in ERs, to see specialists, to get home care [66%], improving patient health – lowered blood pressure, weight loss, smoking cessation [14%] and use of prevention – vaccination, testing, counselling [13%].

And perhaps not surprisingly, respondents were ready to impose sanctions if their health care providers [including doctors] do not meet these service benchmarks. They would cut their pay or funding [41%], impose fines [19%] or terminate or close the health care provider [20%]. Only 16% would impose no sanctions.

“People want accountability – not only for the 40% of their tax dollars that public health care spending represents but also for meeting their expectations for service. The days of “trust me” are over,” added Eng.

People also want to have more information about their own medical treatment and are prepared to have their medical records online to facilitate that access. Only 22% felt that medical records should not be online. Most [41%] wanted to access their online medical records along with their doctors and a further 30% were prepared to give access to their family and friends involved in their care.

“The message to those tasked with developing and implementing the e-health initiatives across the country, is: ‘Get on with it!’ And to those still balking at the prospect: ‘Get moving or move aside!’”, added Eng.

Survey results are based on a self-selected sample of 1,940 members of CARP who receive CARP’s online newsletter CARP ActionOnline. Results can be said to be accurate within 2.2%, 19 times out of 20.

CARP is a national, non-partisan, non-profit organization committed to advocating for a New Vision of Aging for Canada, social change that will bring financial security, equitable access to health care and freedom from discrimination. CARP seeks to ensure that the marketplace serves the needs and expectations of our generation and provides value-added benefits, products and services to our members. Through our network of chapters across Canada, CARP is dedicated to building a sense of community and shared values among our members in support of CARP’s mission.