Underfunded and worsening.

That is what a new poll has found Canadians think of this country’s health-care system.

This comes as the country’s premiers are set to meet on Friday in an attempt to get the federal government to increase health transfers to the provinces.

In a poll done by Leger and commissioned by the Council of the Federation, 56 per cent of respondents said they believe the quality of healthcare provided in their province or territory has worsened over the past five years.

“Even more Canadians believe that the pandemic has exacerbated these issues – 78 per cent believe the pandemic has had a large negative impact on Canada’s health-care systems,” the survey report reads.

“Across all provinces, increased wait times and backlogs for surgery and other procedures and doctor/nursing shortages as a result of burnout are the top perceived negative impacts of the pandemic.”

The survey found 82 per cent of Canadians are worried about getting health services when they are needed and 87 per cent of Canadians agree an immediate increase in funding and resources is needed to help alleviate the considerable strain of the pandemic on their province or territory’s health-care system.

“Few Canadians (22 per cent) believe that the federal government currently provides an adequate amount of funding to provinces/territories to properly deliver health services to citizens and even fewer (10 per cent) believe this when they learn that funding has declined from 50 per cent to 22 per cent since 1960,” the survey report reads.

Pressure has been ramping up by the premiers over the past few years to get Ottawa to contribute more.

B.C. Premier John Horgan will be chairing the meeting and has previously expressed confidence all provinces are in alignment for increased funding.

The survey also found 65 per cent of Canadians agree that their provincial or territorial government is best able to determine health-care spending needs in their province/territory compared to just 11 per cent who believe that the federal government is best able.

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