Premier Dalton McGuinty has admitted that three years after promising to reduce wait times, cancer surgery wait times have gone up.
A quote from the Ottawa Citizen: “It is absolutely true that we have some real challenges with respect to our cancer procedure wait times….The fact of the matter is cancer surgery wait times are up overall by 6.2 percent,” he told the legislature.
Now, to be fair, the Liberals did set up reporting of wait time data so that we can actually measure what is happening in a few areas but it is my understanding that this was tied to receiving more federal funding and part of what the 2004 federal money was earmarked for. One could say that the province felt some pressure to come up with the wait time reporting.
But in any case, what happens now?
In general, you don’t hear people congratulating the Premier for his most excellent “measuring”. People should be able to see positive results with all those billions of dollars pouring into healthcare.
Are they grateful? Well, it depends on who they are. If they are in the group that needed access improved for angiography or angioplasty then they are grateful. If they are the individuals waiting for cancer care access then they are probably somewhat worried and hopeful but grateful might be a bit of a stretch.
We will see more silos popping up on the healthcare horizon as various groups battle for funding not only from gov’t coffers but from donations. Cancer groups are competing with general hospital groups, pediatric hospitals, and cardiac institutions. We see hospital lotteries in direct competition with each other not only within the same city but from other cities as well. The fundraising turf is getting crowded.
People give out of gratitude and they need to have more access to donating mechanisms. Currently, patients cannot be approached during their hospital stay for donations when they and their families would be most grateful. Is it wrong to give money to show one’s gratitude? Is it wrong to ask? Are the patients so entitled to their care that providing an opportunity for patients or they families to make a donation is unethical?
As a society, Canadians seem to have a great deal of difficulty equating money with healthcare. People can manage to avoid donations to healthcare with the excuse that they “already pay lots of taxes for healthcare” and “if I need serious healthcare, I’ll just go to the States.”
More and more, healthcare institutions will be relying on donations. How can we make it easier for grateful patients to give. Or are they entitled to their entitlement?
1.) Provide patients with websites and internet accessible donating sites.
2.) Create an environment in healthcare which includes an understanding of costs and money involved.
3.) Educate the public regarding the need for acute care and urgent care required in their own cities and the dangers of “outsourcing” lifesaving care.
4.) Educate healthcare providers that the care they provide costs money and government will not always be able to provide all that patients require.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.