John Abbott is misleading the public about the NLMA’s polling numbers

John Abbott is misleading the public about the NLMA’s polling numbers

For immediate release – October 21, 2021

St. John’s, NL – Yesterday in the House of Assembly, John Abbott, Minister of Children, Seniors and Social Development attempted to discredit the NLMA’s polling data on the number of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians who do not have a family doctor.

Mr. Abbott suggested the NLMA was the source of the data regarding 99,000 people of the province without a family doctor, and said it was merely a bargaining tactic for leverage over the government.

To counter the NLMA data, Mr. Abbott quoted 2019 data released by Statistics Canada, which showed that two years ago 12.5% of citizens of the province did not have a “regular health care provider”. Statistics Canada collected this data using the Canadian Community Health Survey, which is a sample survey. That data is available here.

Mr. Abbott is misleading in three respects:

First, the NLMA commissioned the survey but is not the source of the data. The survey was carried out by Narrative Research, a respected research company that uses a highquality random sampling approach.

Second, the Statistics Canada survey occurred in 2019 whereas the Narrative Research survey was conducted in August 2021.

Third, the Statistics Canada survey measured a different concept. It was not investigating family doctors specifically, whereas Narrative Research focused solely on family doctors. Narrative Research defined family doctor as “the doctor you go to regularly for your general health care needs. This would exclude walk in clinics where you may see different doctors each time you visit.”

Statistics Canada on the other hand, surveyed about a “regular health care provider”, and defined that as a “health professional that a person sees or talks to when they need care or advice about their health. This can include a family doctor or general practitioner, medical specialist, or nurse practitioner.”

Narrative Research did not poll Newfoundlanders and Labradorians about their access to a medical specialist or a nurse practitioner.

The Narrative Research poll found that 19% of the population did not have a family doctor, which equates to 98,905 people in a province of 520,553.

The 2021 Narrative Research Survey data is provided below.

Polling Data: