Atlantic Canadian daily newspaper coverage of wait times for medical services

Thornhill, Jennifer Y. (2007) Atlantic Canadian daily newspaper coverage of wait times for medical services. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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The purpose of this news media representation study was to explore and describe a sample of Atlantic Canada daily newspaper coverage of wait times for medical services and to make informed assertions about how this coverage can influence the public's knowledge of health services and Canadian health policy. The sample for this mixed-methods study included news articles and opinion pieces published between January 1, 2003 and December 31, 2005 from The Chronicle-Herald (and its Sunday edition, The Sunday Herald), The Guardian, The New Brunswick Telegraph Journal, and The Telegram. In the sample, anecdotal evidence was reported in about one of every 10 stories (40/407, 10%), while research evidence was reported the least of all kinds of reported evidence (21/407, 5.2%). Most of the stories had a negative tone (187/407, 46%), followed by a neutral tone (154/407, 38%) and a positive tone (66/407, 16.2%). Federal, provincial, territorial government sources were quoted about wait times most frequently (358/847, 42.3%) followed by physicians and physician groups (156/847, 18.4%). Government sources were also most frequently photographed (68/115, 59.1 %), followed by patients (16/115, 13.9%) and non-physician health care providers (14/115, 12.2%). Four major themes arose from the qualitative content analysis including: (1) wait times indicate inadequate resources within the health care system; (2) the health care system is in a state of crisis due to long waits; (3) there is an ongoing debate over the impact of public versus private health care on wait times; and ( 4) greater managed care techniques will improve wait times, but confusion over which techniques are best remains. This study supports the hypothesis that the news media tend to report negative information and construct crisis when it comes to news coverage of waiting times for health services. This reporting can inspire false beliefs about the Canadian health care system, which may lead to misguided health policy and practice decisions around wait times.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Item ID: 11543
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (leaves 138-167).
Department(s): Medicine, Faculty of
Date: 2007
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Health services accessibility--Maritime Provinces; Health services accessibility--Newfoundland and Labrador; Hospitals--Waiting lists--Maritime Provinces; Hospitals--Waiting lists--Newfoundland and Labrador.
Medical Subject Heading: Health Services Accessibility--Maritime Provinces; Health Services Accessibility--Newfoundland and Labrador; Waiting Lists--Maritime Provinces; Waiting Lists--Newfoundland and Labrador.

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