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Health and Community Services
January 16, 2013

Fraser Institute Report Does Not Accurately Capture Provincial Health Care Delivery

The Honourable Susan Sullivan, Minister of Health and Community Services, is taking exception with the conclusions of a recent report from the Fraser Institute and comments from the Official Opposition that the Provincial Government has no strategy for health care in Newfoundland and Labrador.

“The conclusions of the Fraser Institute’s report are not balanced as they do not take into consideration many factors that contribute to the costs of our province’s health care system, especially when ranked with other provinces,” said Minister Sullivan. “The report suggests there is a straight line relationship between cost per population and health outcomes. However, the report does not account for several key factors that drive the cost of health care in our province that may also play a part in determining health outcomes of our population.”

The report does not consider:

“Not only did the Fraser Institute neglect to factor in our unique provincial circumstances in their analysis, their data is flawed especially in terms of wait times,” added Minister Sullivan. “The wait time data used in this report is questionable as to both the methodology used and the low response rates in their data. The methodology they used was a self-reported survey by specialists with only a 19 per cent response rate. This is not scientifically valid.”

In 2012, Newfoundland and Labrador’s reduction of wait times ranked second in the country in a report released by the Canadian Institute for Health Information; this is contrary to the assertion in the Fraser Institute report that Newfoundland and Labrador ranks as one of the lowest in the country in terms of timely access to service.

“This proves that you simply cannot accept at face value flawed data and draw a one-size-fits-all conclusion,” said Minister Sullivan. “This is what the Official Opposition has clearly done, and in a self-serving manner neglected to recognize that over the past nine years we have done exceptional work to improve the system to where it is today. I am disappointed that the Official Opposition so eagerly accepted such a flawed report. Our health care improvements have required considerable investments and a lot of hard work. Our work has had proven results.”

Newfoundland and Labrador now has the highest number of doctors and nurses in the history of the province and provincial wait time reductions are being recognized nationally. As well, significant progress has taken place on new strategies for cancer; chronic disease; long-term care; wait times for hip and knee replacement surgeries; and, wait times in emergency departments.

“While we believe there are efficiencies to be found in our health care system and continue to work with the regional health authorities to improve services and generate better value for our investments, we simply cannot and will not accept the blanket statements by the Fraser Institute,” said Minister Sullivan. “Despite the uniformed statements of the Official Opposition, we know that Newfoundlanders and Labradorians continue to experience enhanced health care services.”

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Media contact:
Jennifer Tulk
Director of Communications
Department of Health and Community Services
709-729-1377, 699-6524

2013 01 16                        2:30 p.m.

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