According to a new survey from Health PEI, the majority of respondents have a family doctor but still clog up emergency rooms or walk-in clinics because they can’t get in to see their physicians.
Health PEI released some of the results from a health survey on Thursday. The exhaustive survey was sent out to all Islanders in November 2011.
About 12,000 people completed the mail-in survey that looked at everything from where they first go to seek medical help to how many vegetable servings people eat per day.
Three quarters of the respondents were women and the greatest number of responses came from people between the ages of 60 and 70.
About 90 per cent of respondents said they do have a family doctor, but many said they have difficulty getting in to see that doctor and use walk-in clinics or the emergency room instead.
There are still close to 10,000 Islanders without a family doctor.
“I think what it does is really validates some the areas we know have issues,” said Donna MacAusland, primary care analyst for Health PEI.
She said some doctors have moved to a new way to book appointments.
“We are trying to make sure we can accommodate patients when they call either on a same day or a next day basis. So really the intent there is to make sure you get into see your family physician,” said MacAusland.
Thirty per cent of respondents said after physicians, the health professional they’re most likely to access one of five nurse practitioners in the province.
There are still two vacancies in rural P.E.I.
Close to 100 per cent of respondents rated their mental health as positive.
The Canadian Mental Health Association said that number seems high, but officials say the high number of older people and women respondents may have skewed the results.
Health PEI said the information gathered from the survey will be used to improve services.
MacAusland said the analysis was done in-house for $20,000 and took much longer than expected.
She said next time they'll likely hire an outside company that specializes in doing surveys to help.