Canada’s healthcare system ranks amongst the lowest of 30 high-income countries with universal healthcare, according to a new study by the Fraser Institute. 

The data recently compiled by the economic think tank ranked 30 high income countries based on quality and clinical performance, availability of resources, use of resources and access to resources from a “value for money approach.”

“The data examined in this report suggest that there is an imbalance between the value Canadians receive and the relatively high amount of money they spend on their health-care system,” reads the report.

The study concluded that Canada’s healthcare system was ranked modest to poor, despite the fact that it has one of the most expensive universal-access healthcare systems in the 38 Organization for Economic Co-operation and Developement (OECD) countries. 

“The level of health-care expenditure is measured using two indicators, while the performance of each country’s health-care system is measured using 40 indicators, representing the four broad categories,”reads the study.

Canada spends more on healthcare than the bulk of high-income OECD countries that offer universal healthcare.

Once the study was adjusted for “age,” the percentage of the population over 65, Canada spends more of its GDP than any other country and ranked ninth highest for healthcare expenditure per capita.

In terms of availability of resources, Canada was found to have the least amount of human and capital medical resources when compared to countries that spent similar amounts on their healthcare systems.

It has significantly less physicians, somatic-care beds and psychiatric beds per capita once adjusted for age, when compared to the average OECD country. 

Canada did rank close to average in terms of nurses and ranked ninth for number of long-term care beds (per 1,000 over the age of 65).

Canada also ranked well for Gamma cameras, having the third most of any country, however it has less medical technologies when compared to other countries in the OECD. 

When looking at use of resources, Canada again, performed below the average OECD country on all indicators, even ranking last (or next to last) in the group of countries analyzed, when measured by rate of curative-care discharges.  

Additionally, Canada ranked poorly) in the access to resources section by all indicators regarding timeliness of care. On the indicator measuring the percentage of patients who reported that cost was a barrier to access, it ranked seventh out of ten.

Canada ranked better across all indicators on the section of quality and clinical performance in the areas of primary care, acute care, mental health care, cancer care, and patient safety on rates like survival for breast, colon, and rectal cancers.

“Although Canada ranks among the most expensive universal-access health-care systems in the OECD, its performance for availability and access to resources is generally below that of the average OECD country, while its performance for use of resources and quality and clinical performance is mixed,” concluded the report. The wait times for many cancer patients have become dangerously long, forcing the government in B.C. to send many of their patients south of the border for treatment.