Study shows First Nations patients less likely prioritized for urgent care

According to the study, 7.9 percent of Indigenous visits were triaged at more acute levels, compared to the 11.8 per cent of non-Indigenous visits.



A new study shows First Nation patients who go to emergency departments are treated as less urgent compared to non-Indigenous patients in Alberta.

The Canadian Medical Association Journal looked at data on more than 11 million emergency department visits over five years up to 2017, finding that status First Nation patients had lower odds of being triaged, or assessed, as high priorities for care.

Lea Bill is the co-lead on the study and executive director of the Alberta First Nations Information Governance Centre, said in an interview she hopes the findings will help leadership and the general population form a better understanding of what’s happening, and that it leads to major changes in the health-care system.

Bill said she hopes to see First Nation communities get the type of primary health services that the rest of the province has so patients can get the proper attention and care before they reach the ER.

First Nations people rely on emergency care more than non-Indigenous people in the province. Especially those in rural or remote areas of Alberta.




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