The non conformer's Canadian Weblog

July 31, 2018

Canada’s health care system

When speaking to one of the experts used by The New York Times in the study,   an  analysis conducted by The New York Times that pitted the health care services of countries against each other in a formal competition found Canada to be a major loser,   the National Post reported that Canada’s super-long wait times were the reason why the nation’s health care system did so poorly in the competition.

Long wait times have become the defining characteristic of Canadian health care.

The medical expert said only 43% of Canadians are actually seeing a medical professional on the same day they seek help, half of Canadians wait 2+ in emergency rooms, and the wait time to see a specialist is 2-3 months.

Canada’s health care system doesn’t leave us wanting so much as it leaves us waiting. The wait to see a doctor in the ER may stretch for hours, but if you need to be admitted to hospital, it can jump to days. The wait for home care services often stretches for months, and a patient needing a long-term care bed can languish in limbo for years.

Why are Canada’s health-care wait times the worst? How to Reduce Wait Times in Canadian Health Care?

Canadian patients who suffer the reality of long delays, which may lead to deteriorating and irreversible harm, and a private health care system is not any better in reality. Canadian patients   frustrated by long wait times – too often  go to the United States, other places for diagnostic and surgical procedures. and they are giving profits to other  hospitals and reducing employment to Canadian   health professionals.

The real challenge we have is not waiting times. It is more fundamental: It is better management of our hospitals, physicians, medical professionals. We should  be using our medical resources much more efficiently.  More air traffic control is needed,  not just more money. The health care system, like any industry, has a natural resistance to change, so what? Everyone deserves timely, quality care. There are proven steps we can take to shorten wait times for care, and they must be taken immediately.

Canada has more physicians, in absolute numbers and per capita, than ever before, with seemingly little impact on access.   And we under use nurse practitioners, occupational therapists and the like . For a start our physicians  should all be  required to work a minimum of  30 hours per week.

Too many Canadian operating rooms, medical treatments are closed for prolonged periods over Christmas, spring break, and in the summer as doctors like  to work 9 to 5 hours, and take holidays at the same time as many others, thus Hospitals or under utilized and wait times therefore continue to increase, to be unresolved. A medical patient with a severe illness this week called his doctor for medical help and was told the doctor was going on his vacation.

Too many Canadian surgeons considered themselves under-employed, and they cited poor access to operating rooms. All operating rooms should run on a 24/7 basis as well.

“Too many long-term care and nursing home beds are full and as a result, thousands of patients who no longer need serious medical care can’t leave hospital. Because these patients are not discharged and beds are scarce, elective surgeries are cancelled, and those waiting for admission spend days on gurneys in the ER. The congestion this causes means that ambulances sometimes can’t off-load patients. Providing care to those in hallways slows provision of care to those in the waiting room. And many of the patients in the waiting room are there because they are unable to see their doctor promptly. “

In April 2016, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives released an analysis of solutions that could be used to address wait times. The full report is available here  

The answer is simple, but profoundly frustrating. It’s because Hospitals, physicians  medical policies have not changed. Of course, there are those heartless persons who falsely choose to ignore the plight of Canadian patients.

Sadly most oral health care is exempt from provincial and territorial health-care plans (some dental services are covered by government dental programs, but working-class people lacking employer coverage are on their own).  It’s also a glaring omission that’s both illogical and a public-health concern. We know that periodontal disease affects heart health; that an untreated tooth infection can be fatal; that mouth pain can lead to drug addiction and force people to stay home from work; that dentists and dental hygienists can spot precancerous or cancerous lesions, as well as diabetes and gastroesophageal reflux disease; and that hospital emergency rooms are flooded with people with untreated dental problems.

see also

https://thenonconformer.wordpress.com/2018/03/17/unwanted-unappreciated-poor-medical-care/

https://thenonconformer.wordpress.com/2018/02/28/quebecs-pretentious-free-medical-services/

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