Family medicine access in Canada drops since 2016, survey suggests – CBC

Not having a primary care provider was more common among Canadians with lower levels of household income

Mar 21, 2024

Family doctors are often the first place Canadians turn for medical care, but the proportion of adults with access to a primary care provider has declined, a new survey suggests.

The international survey was conducted in 10 high-income countries by the Commonwealth Fund, a U.S.-based non-profit foundation that funds surveys of patients and health-care providers in multiple countries. A partner, the Canadian Institute for Health Information, released the findings on Thursday.

More than 4,500 Canadians were asked if they had a regular doctor or place of care, which may include a physician or a general health-care clinic and excludes emergency visits and hospital care.

Lack of access to a primary care provider negatively impacts the health of both individuals and the population, the institute said.

“The percentage of Canadians who reported having a regular doctor or place that they go for care dropped from 93 per cent in 2016 to 86 per cent in 2023,” said Cheryl Chui, director of health system analytics at CIHI in Toronto, in an interview.

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