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Long waiting times—both for procedures and tests and at emergency rooms—remain one of the main concerns for residents.

Vancouver, BC — Most residents of Alberta and British Columbia award moderate ratings to the health care system, and regard long waiting times for procedures and emergency room visits among their main worries, a new Insights West poll has found.

In the online survey of representative provincial samples, residents were asked to rate their respective health care systems on a 1 to 10 scale. In British Columbia, 34% of residents gave their system a rating of 8 to 10. In Alberta, 28% of residents also awarded a strong 8 to 10 score.

More than half of residents in both provinces (53% in BC, 57% in AB) provided a moderate rating (from 5 to 7), while the proportion of poor ratings (1 to 4) was significantly lower (13% in BC, 15% in AB).


Rating The System

At least two-in-five residents of the two Western provinces believe that their respective health care systems are “excellent” or “good” at being friendly (52% in both BC and AB), supporting Canadian values (49% in BC, 54% in AB), supporting the community (43% in BC, 45% in AB) and being trustworthy (46% in BC, 41% in AB).

The two provinces have similar opinions on whether their health care system offers good value for their taxes (38% in BC, 41% in AB), but there were some major differences in being innovative (31% in BC, 39% in AB), and a good employer (36% in BC, 47% in AB).

Still, barely one-in-five residents of the two provinces (21% in BC, 19% in AB) said that the health care system is well managed.

Relying on Insights West’s unique Brand Digital Insights methodology, the perception of management of the two provincial health care systems was compared against over 160 organizations in Western Canada. In both cases, the health care systems ranked among the bottom 10% of all organizations.

“Compared to the other organizations in our database, the health care systems rate among the middle of the pack as brands and on other criteria,” says Mario Canseco, Vice President, Public Affairs, at Insights West. “On management, however, the results are definitely lower.”

The Public’s Concerns

Residents were asked to select up to three concerns about the health care system. In British Columbia, long waiting times for procedures and tests was the top worry (74%), followed by shortage of doctors and nurses (57%), long waiting times in emergency rooms (54%) and bureaucracy and poor management (40%).

In Alberta, the key concerns are long waiting times for procedures and tests (67%), long waiting times in emergency rooms (62%), bureaucracy and poor management (58%) and shortage of doctors and nurses (55%).

Actual Experiences

The main negative experiences that residents cite have to do with time. Two thirds of British Columbians (67%) and almost three-in-four Albertans (72%) say that, over the course of their interaction with the health care system, they have waited more than one hour during an emergency room visit.

Smaller proportions of residents report having waited more than six months for a procedure or test (37% in BC, 34% in AB), having a bad experience with a doctor (31% in BC, 36% in AB), a bad experience with a nurse (21% in BC, 25% in AB), a bad reaction to a prescription from a doctor (14% in BC, 16% in AB), or having developed a health issue while staying at a hospital (7% in BC, 8% in AB).


About Insights West:

Insights West is a progressive, Western-based, full-service marketing research company. It exists to serve the market with insights-driven research solutions and interpretive analysis through leading-edge tools, normative databases, and senior-level expertise across a broad range of public and private sector organizations. Insights West is based in Vancouver and Calgary and has ten full-time and five part-time employees.

About Brand Digital Insights:

Launched in 2012 by Insights West, this research tool combines corporate brand reputation, advertising recall and consumer digital interactions with a brand into a single research product. The tool links these three disciplines to understand how they work together. Norms have been developed from our database of over 160 organizations over 74,000 responses across British Columbia and Alberta, allowing any organization the chance to track digital engagement, brand profile, and campaign results as well as compare their success to others in the marketplace. Learn more details about Brand Digital Insights.

About this Release:

Results are based on two online studies. One conducted from January 8 to January 10, 2014, among 711 British Columbian adults who are aged 18+ and are Your Insights panel members, and one conducted from January 23 to January 26, 2014, among 604 Albertan adults who are aged 18+ and are Your Insights panel members. is Insights West’s in-house access panel offering on-demand samples for both clients and research suppliers looking for Western Canadian populations. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age and gender. While statistical margins of error are arguably not applicable to online panels/online studies of this nature, we have assumed that the same margins of error apply as if it were a true unweighted random probability sample with a margin of error of +/- 3.6 percentage points for the British Columbia survey, and +/- 3.9 percentage points for the Alberta survey, nineteen times out of twenty. To view the detailed data tabulations, click here for British Columbia’s or here for Alberta’s.

For further information, please contact:

Mario Canseco
Vice President, Public Affairs, Insights West


Photograph: Ken Jarvis