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St. Paul's Hospital Emergency in Vancouver Tuesday, May 7, 2002.Chuck Stoody/ The Canadian Press

A new survey says Canadians use emergency rooms more than people from 10 other countries, mainly because they can't get access to their regular medical care during weekends and evenings.

The survey - by the Health Council of Canada in conjunction with international groups - shows that nearly half the respondents who went to emergency rooms in the past two years could have been treated at their usual place of care, if service had been available.

By contrast, in Germany, only a quarter of respondents said they were stuck going to emergency because no one else was available after hours.

Canadians also rank at the bottom when it comes to landing a doctor's appointment the same day or next day when they get sick or need quick attention.

Overall, the study finds that Canadians are generally confident in the quality of care they receive, but there are serious challenges in accessing that care in a timely manner.

The Health Council is charged with monitoring how well federal and provincial governments implement 10-year funding arrangements put in place in 2004.

The survey is the result of 100 questions posed to about 20,000 randomly-selected people across 11 countries in the spring of 2010. The questionnaire was led by the Commonwealth Fund.