Health Minister flunks Fraser Institute findings

Health Minister Susan Sullivan is taking exception to findings included in a recent report fom the Fraser Insitute.

Newfoundland and Labrador's health minister is taking exception to conclusions of a new Fraser Institute report that found the province's citizens get poor value for their services.

Health Minister Susan Sullivan says the Fraser Institute used flawed methodology to compare the provinces. (CBC)

Susan Sullivan said the right-leaning think tank's findings "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."

The report says Newfoundland and Labrador spends the most money per capita on health care. It compares the per-capita cost of provincial health care systems to the availability and quality of medical goods and services in each province.

The institute measured 46 performance indicators in five key areas of health system performance – availability of resources, volume of medical services, wait for treatment, clinical performance and government spending.

Quebec and Ontario scored highest overall, while Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador had the lowest ratings.

The province, however, did score well in the category of medical resources, and somewhere in the middle for services provided per-capita. It did not fare well in the areas of clinical performance and wait times.

In 2012, Newfoundland and Labrador’s reduction of wait times ranked second in the country, as released in a report by the Canadian Institute for Health Information.

"This proves that you simply cannot accept at face value flawed data and draw a one-size-fits-all conclusion," Sullivan said in a statement.

"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," Sullivan said, adding that the government disputes the methodology of a self-reported survey with a response rate under 20 per cent.

"This is not scientifically valid."

Speaking with reporters Wednesday, Premier Kathy Dunderdale said Newfoundland and Labrador has challenges of geography unlike most provinces.

"We're a coastal people, spread out over a great land mass," said Dunderdale, who added government is making concerted efforts to make health care more cost-effective.

"It's challenging, to say the very least," Dunderdale said.