Rigid health care zealots full of intolerance for the needs of people who do not fit their definition of "vulnerable" are damaging the lives of Canadians across the country.
These are the single payer supporters who would have you believe that they are noble supporters of the public, the poor, and the sick. They are not. They perpetuate the status quo that is leaving many people behind including autistic children, elderly dementia patients, and patients waiting years for elective surgery.
The truly vulnerable amongst us who need public health care support are being denied timely and appropriate care while the Unions maintain their self-serving power and workers are forced to join their ranks only to be out of jobs as the economy fails to support ever increasing Union demands.
Despite Paul Martin's Federal Liberal Party's attempt at a "Fix for a Generation" a decade ago and 41 Billion dollars later, patients continue to languish on wait lists. Despite Premier Wynne professing "fiscal" responsibility, the Ontario Liberal Government has misspent billions of tax payer dollars on eHealth, ORNGE, gas plant cancellations, and failed green energy initiatives. And on and on it goes.
The social responsibility that is so deeply ingrained in Canadian culture is being distorted. We spend more and more on measuring and monitoring in accountability agreements in attempts to respond to government need to demonstrate "efficiency" which remains sufficiently elusive so as not to make a dent in waits or budgets.
Meanwhile, front line care suffers as funds are shunted to providing government optics. Even "value for money" will be an ethereal goal since value very much depends on evidence which is never complete and on the perspective of the evaluator--patient or politician or provider.
Don't misundertand me. I do believe in accountability but only the real kind.
So what does this have to do with Sweden, unemployed Canadian specialists and the Rand?
Canada is the last remaining country in the world to cling to a single payer health care system. It has some of the worst indices in many comparisons with other developed countries. Even socialist Sweden permits is citizens to purchase private insurance.
From "The Local-Sweden's News in English":
* One in ten Swedes has private health insurance with some giving the reason that this makes more sense than waiting in long public queues for care.
* The insurance plan guarantees that the patient can see a specialist within four working days, and get a time for surgery, if needed, within 15.
In Canada, graduating surgeons including orthopedic surgeons are unable to find OR time to provide much needed service to patients waiting in long queues measured in months and years. Despite having less than the OECD average of physicans per population, Canada is graduating many kinds of specialists who cannot get work in their area of expertise due to lack of public funding and lack of public health care infrastructure.
News of Canadian surgeons travelling to the Turks and Caicos with their patients to access OR time and surgical care requirements has emerged recently from Alberta. Lack of Operating Room time, hospital beds, and nursing and tech support are discussed publicly.
Sixteen percent of graduating Canadian specialist physicians are essentially unemployed in their fields despite growing demand for care due to an aging population with all of its associated health issues and due to a growing population from immigration. Some of this specialist/infrastructure mismatch is due to older physicians staying on longer but the real issue is an infrastructure short fall for ORs and hospital beds and also lack of long term care beds.
Consultants call for more measurement and more coordination/integration within the health care system but the system is already brittle with inherent interdependency that stymies innovation and flexibilty. More coordination is unlikely to work in a complex system such as health care. We need resiliency in a new health care system that can be enabled to adapt quickly to unprecedented change and uncertainty.
There are some simple approaches that can be taken to allow resiliency to develop.
The first is to remove or change legislation that prohibits private provision of medical care such as Bill 8 in Ontario.
The second is to "de-Rand" the Ontario Medical Association. Even though the OMA acts more as the right hand of government nowadays to implement government policy, it does have a role in fee setting which it has less capability to do as funding models become more complex and removed from fees. It is no longer fulfilling its role as negotiating body for all physicians.
Innovation in health care funding that can provide more care to more people in a timely way will only happen when people are given the freedom to change. We have a decade left to move to a Hybrid health care system. We need to start now.
I'd also like to thank all the very supportive contributors here who have kept the discussion going. I am learning first hand about the lack of resources in the community to deal with dementia patients and sometimes my efforts are spent elsewhere.
I'm looking forward to a smoother 2014! Best wishes to All and many thanks!