Does the term "primary health care" sound like a bunch of jargon to you? A new poll shows you're not alone. But just because Canadians may not know exactly what it means, it doesn't mean primary care isn't important to them.
While some 60.5% of Canadians have seen or heard the term, only 39.9% of Canadians polled were able to describe it in even the broadest of terms. But once they understood the reference, a whopping 93.2% said they believed primary care was either of high importance or medium importance to their future health.
Primary health refers to basic, everyday health care, says Kay Gibbons of the National Public Health Care Awareness Strategy, which commissioned the poll.
Championed in Roy Romanow's 2002 report on the status of Canada's health-care system, primary health care focuses on prevention and greater access to care and information. The model is based on the idea that health care providers from differing professions, such as doctors, pharmacists, and nurses, work together to enhance patient care.
"It's about preventing illness and injury, managing chronic conditions, treating episodic illnesses, promoting healthier living and making the most effective use of health provider expertise. It's about efficiency, coordination, sharing information, and improved access," Gibbons says.
The poll, which falls under a Health Canada plan to strengthen primary health care across the country, involved some 4,800 Canadians. Participants were interviewed by telephone.
With the recent Supreme Court ruling that people in Quebec have the right to use private insurance in order to receive medically-necessary services, Canada's single-tiered health care system as we know it may be in turmoil. But 20.1% of survey respondents expressed high confidence in the health-care system's long-term sustainability, compared to 18.7% whose confidence was low. In addition, a majority of those polled (58.6%) were somewhat confident that the quality of health care in Canada would improve, with another 22.8% saying they were highly confident health care would improve.
Other findings of the poll were:
The poll was conducted by Points West Consulting Group Inc., Leger Marketing Inc., and Interactive Tracking Systems Inc. and is considered accurate within a +/- 1.4% margin of error.
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