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2016 Canadian Healthcare Worry Index: Harm by Hospital-Acquired Infections and Preventable Medical Incidents

Press Release

OTTAWA (June 6, 2016) – Going to the hospital is now considered dangerous business. The 2016 Canadian Healthcare Worry Index reveals that seven out of ten Canadians fear they could be harmed or even die because of hospital-acquired infections while six out of ten worry they could be the victim of a “preventable” medical incident, such as being given the wrong medication or surgery on the wrong body part.

The poll was released today by HeathCareCAN and the Canadian College of Healthcare Leaders (CCHL) at the National Health Leadership Conference in Ottawa, June 6-7, 2016.

The poll also shows that eight out of ten Canadians are concerned that lack of support for healthcare innovation is slowing progress across the country to a crawl. Without innovative, concerted action, the sort of improvements Canadians want and expect – particularly for seniors and Indigenous Canadians — may not be achievable.

“For decades, Canadians have been rightly proud of their healthcare system but we’re falling behind under the weight of new challenges and in dealing with new threats,” says Bill Tholl, President and CEO, HealthcareCAN. “Some of these challenges are biologic, such as the emergence of new generations of antibiotic resistant infections – ‘superbugs’ that we will have no way to treat. Others are jurisdictional, such as our dysfunctional pattern of ‘reinventing the wheel’ from community to community, rather than learning from and applying innovations in a timely, consistent and integrated manner.”

Canadian Healthcare Fear Factors

What Canadians Fear Most % of Canadians
Hospital- and facility-acquired infections 70%
Harm or even death from medical incidents or events which should be preventable 58%
The slow pace at which new innovative ideas spread across Canada 80%
Unless a new approach is taken by federal and provincial governments, there will be no 81%
solution to  current indigenous health concerns
Their final years will be of poor quality because of chronic diseases 84%

Source: May, 2016, Ipsos eNational online survey of 1,004 Canadians aged 18 and over for NHLC; results are considered accurate with +3.1%, 19 times out of 20.

“To move forward and ensure quality care for all Canadians, we need governments to open the doors and let healthcare providers and citizens join them at the discussion table,” says Ray Racette, President and CEO of CCHL. “As a nation, we expect governments to commit to quality health care but we know they can’t do it alone. National quality requires a concerted, collaborative approach. It’s not created in isolation or silos, but requires the active participation of a wide variety of sectors. Canadians are ready and willing to step up to the plate if governments will let them.”

In the poll, Canadians showed they are highly supportive of heath care change, with nine out of ten saying they would like to see:

  • A mandatory Canada-wide reporting system for preventable medical incidents that focuses upon identifying and implementing solutions so everyone can benefit from the lessons learned
  • Government intervention to address seniors’ limited access to home care and long-term care facilities, as well as chronic disease prevention and management
  • Collaboration with First Nations, Metis and Inuit leadership to develop clear goals and targets for reducing the current wide disparity in Indigenous health
  • As part of the new Health Accord, strategic federal government investment in healthcare innovation

Call to Action

  1. Healthcare leaders from both the public and private sectors have already begun to drive the agenda forward on the issue of antimicrobial (drug) resistance, including convening leading experts to address how we should proceed to protect Canadians.
  2. We have been, and will continue to be, a leading supporter of the Advisory Panel on Healthcare

Innovation and its five key “to-dos” for the future of Canadians health care:

  •  Embracing patient engagement and empowerment
  • Integrating fragmented health systems and modernizing the workforce
  • Investing in technological transformation, including digital health and personalized medicine
  • Getting better value for money by improving procurement, reimbursement and regulation
  • Partnering with industry as a catalyst for innovation.
  1. HealthCareCAN and the Canadian College of Health Leaders will continue to advocate that governments address the quality of life of Canadians and the sustainability of our healthcare system by honouring their commitments to chronic disease prevention and management.

NHLC is the largest national gathering of health system decision-makers in Canada, including representatives from health regions, authorities and alliances; hospitals; long-term care organizations; public health agencies; community care; mental health and social services; government, education and research organizations; professional associations; and consulting firms and industry. Visit for more information.

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Media contact:

Lucie Boileau
Director of Communications, Marketing and Government Relations, HealthCareCAN 613-241-8005 x 205 │ 613-462-5604 (mobile) │ [email protected]


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