New CIHI report highlights Canada’s health-care crisis, surgery backlogs, staff shortages, no family doctor

Canada Healthcare crisis. Representative image by Mulyadi on Unsplash

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Toronto/CMEDIA: Canada’s major drop in surgeries to 13% during the early years of the pandemic has been highlighted by a new report, but those pains were felt unequally across the country’s provincial health-care system, with the largest decrease in procedures seen in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Released Wednesday by the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI), an independent organization which compiles and analyzes health system data, the findings revealed roughly 743,000 fewer surgeries performed in Canada during the first 2½ years of the pandemic, a drop of about 13 percent compared to 2019.

“It takes a long time to catch up when you have to cancel a large number of surgeries,” Kathleen Morris, CIHI’s vice-president of research and analysis reportedly said.

Although the number of surgeries dropped, the CIHI report noted an increase of 15 percent in overtime hours in Canada’s public hospitals from 2020 to 2021 compared to the previous year, a stark example of the pressure COVID-19 put on health-care workers.

Other health-care issues, including staff shortages and burnout, levels of access to personal health information, and the roughly one in 10 Canadians not having a regular health-care provider were highlighted by the findings.

All provinces and territories except Quebec have signed on.

Quebec did not provide any figures for CIHI’s new report, leaving out health information for a population of roughly 8.8 million.