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"b.c. Tops In Health, Manitoba At Bottom: Report"

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B.C. tops in health, Manitoba at bottom: report

Last Updated Wed, 01 Feb 2006 13:37:04 EST

CBC News


British Columbians tend to be healthier than people in other provinces but are among the least satisfied with their care, says a new report that suggests spending more doesn't necessarily help.


Overall provincial rankings & per capita health expenditures

Overall health performance  Province Per capita health expenditure

1 B.C. $2,545

2 Alta. $2,687

3 Sask. $2,242

4 Ont. $2,264

5 Que. $2,109

6 N.B. $2,157

7 P.E.I. $2,422

8 Nfld  $2,823

8 N.S.  $2,096

10 Man. $2,438

[Canada $2,321]


Manitoba, on the other hand, has the country's worst health system, both from a health and performance point of view, according to the study released Wednesday by the Conference Board of Canada.


But one of the report's authors cautioned against making blanket statements about health care in each province.


"We really don't want this report to be used to judge Manitoba or judge B.C.," said Glen Roberts, the conference board's director of health programs. "What we want it to be used for is learning. What can Manitoba learn from B.C. and, in fact, what can B.C. learn from Manitoba?"


Researchers compared provincial health-care systems in three areas:


    * Overall health of people.

    * Effects of policy programs on quality of life.

    * How people perceive the health-care system in their provinces.


The report examined 70 benchmarks, based on information released in 2004, such as wait times, cancer rates, life expectancy and infant mortality. No province scored well in all three categories.


British Columbia ranked first thanks to a combination of a strong health-care system and people living well, but was second last in patient satisfaction. The province spent $2,545 per person on health care.


Manitoba is at the bottom of the list for overall performance, spending $2,438 per capita.


Manitoba Health Minister Tim Sale said the province's proportionally large population of First Nations people in isolated areas skews its ranking, because they have a higher incidence of diabetes, tuberculosis and cardiovascular disease.


"Because we have a very high rural and remote population, because poverty is a significant health issue, we can improve significantly by focusing on at-risk populations," Sale said.


Manitoba was ranked third for how well the system is working for people and how well Manitobans do after treatment for heart attacks and strokes, he noted.


Money no panacea


Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland and Labrador were tied in the overall rankings at eighth place, although Nova Scotia spends the least amount of money on health care per person, at $2,096, and Newfoundland and Labrador spends the most, at $2,823.


"Money is not the panacea in providing better health care," concluded Conn Hamilton, the report's lead author.


"Spending larger sums of money does not necessarily translate into high performance. It is how the money is spent, rather than how much, that appears to make the difference."


Shaping debate


On an international scale, Canada's health care ranks 11th of 23 industrialized countries, said the report. Japan scored highest, Italy was second, and France and Spain shared third spot. The United States was ranked 23rd.


Roberts said he hopes federal and provincial governments will use the report's findings to focus on data and facts, rather than the current debate about wait times.


The authors suggest that Canada should work on reducing its high incidence and mortality rates of breast cancer and colorectal cancer.


The board, a non-profit organization that conducts research on economic and social policy issues, said its next step will be to examine the "why" behind the results.


The report did not include data for the Yukon and the Northwest Territories and Nunavut, and a number of indicators from Quebec were not available.


I really enjoyed this article because of how we always hear from the opposition in B.C. "how bad our health care system is here in B.C. because of cuts the BC Liberals made in the early Double Ohs", yet according to this article we're number one. Which also makes the article even more interesting is the fact that money doesn't neccessarily mean a better system but how it's spent, something the right has been advocating for awhile.

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I love this article for all the same reasons. We are unsatisfied only because of the cuts and the publicity that that receives, and it does not reflect the actual quality of the care.


The little shithole town I used to live in is getting a new hospital, the NDP, if elected in the last prov. election, would have scrapped the project. the bcndp only cares about unions and suffocating our economy.

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It's too bad that many of the good things that do happen under the BC Liberals never get reported on, because they really have not been that bad to this province. I remember the BC NDP with the fast cat ferry fiasco, fudge-it budgets, bingo gate, etc. So, if anything they have been better than the BC NDP at running this province.

Edited by Matt
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