P.E.I. residents receive poor value for money in health care: report

Jim Day jday@theguardian.pe.ca
Published on January 15, 2013

Prince Edward Islanders get a comparatively unhealthy bang for the buck when it comes to provincial health care systems, according to a new report.

P.E.I. ranks nine out of 10 provinces for overall value for money in health care, concludes a report from the Fraser Institute, Canada's leading public policy think-tank.

Newfoundland and Labrador sits at the bottom.

The Provincial Healthcare Index 2013 compares the per-capita cost of provincial health care systems to the availability and quality of medical goods and services in each province.

The report measures 46 performance indicators comprising availability of resources, timeliness, volume of services provided, and clinical performance using publically available data from 2010 (or the most recent year available).

Quebec's health care system ranked highest overall followed by Ontario and New Brunswick.

"Measuring and reporting the performance of health care systems is vital for ensuring accountability and transparency,'' said Nadeem Esmail, Fraser Institute director of health policy studies.

"The study allows policymakers and taxpayers to judge whether they receive good value for their health care dollars.''

P.E.I. along with Manitoba and Saskatchewan has the fewest medical resources among the provinces.

Prince Edward Island is also among the provinces that provide the fewest services as well as the longest delays for specialist appointments, surgery, diagnostic imaging, and pharmaceutical approvals.

"This study reveals how provinces have struck different balances between health expenditures and health system performance,'' said Esmail.

"For example, Quebec is able to offer its residents a relatively high-value health care system at a low cost, while Newfoundland and Labrador does its residents a disservice by providing only average value at a very high cost. Low-cost, high-value B.C. and high-cost, high-value Alberta fall in the middle of the pack in terms of overall value for money.''

He adds that on a national basis, Canada's health care system provides very poor value for money in comparison with universal-access health care systems in other developed nations.

"However, some Canadian provinces clearly provide better value for money in health care than others,'' he said.