11/10/2015 03:25 EST | Updated 11/10/2015 03:59 EST

Ontario Family Doctors Are Some Of The Hardest To See In A Hurry: Report

USA, New Jersey, Jersey City, Check up visit in doctor's office
Tetra Images via Getty Images
USA, New Jersey, Jersey City, Check up visit in doctor's office

TORONTO — The agency responsible for monitoring the quality of health services says Ontario is among the worst jurisdictions when it comes to getting an appointment with a doctor.

Health Quality Ontario says only 44 per cent of residents can get same-day or next-day appointments with a primary care provider, the lowest performance out of 10 countries of similar social and economic status.

The number of people who can get a quick doctor appointment falls to 28 per cent in northwestern Ontario and 35 per cent in the northeastern half of the province.

The agency says where you live, who you are and how much you earn can also impact your care, warning that people are less likely to receive optimal health care if they're immigrants, poor, or live in rural or remote areas, or northern Ontario.

It says 86 per cent of immigrants who've been in Canada less than 10 years have a primary care provider, compared with 94 per cent of Ontarians born in Canada.

Fifty per cent of people aged 50-to-75 living in the poorest neighbourhoods are overdue for colorectal cancer screening, compared with 35 per cent living in the highest-income neighbourhoods.

And 15 per cent of people recently discharged from hospital in the lowest-income neighbourhoods are re-admitted within 30 days, compared with 12 per cent in the more well-off areas.

"While most readmissions are not avoidable, variations in this rate may point to missed opportunities in care co-ordination with primary care or other parts of the system after a hospital stay,'' concludes the agency's report.

The Liberal government is in the midst of a nasty dispute with Ontario's doctors, who are fuming over fee cuts that were imposed when the two sides couldn't agree on a new contract.


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