While union backed protesters decry the end of the Health Council of Canada and complain that the federal health transfers are not sufficient to provide the provinces with what they need to fulfill their political promises, other people are working hard to create more sustainable change.
I'm not talking about the individuals who are entrenched in more bureaucratic and systemic convolutions that add to the cost of care by creating expensive and more complex coordination such as Family Health Teams and Health Links. I'm talking about people like Dr. Robert Bell of the University Health Network in Toronto and Dr. Brian Day of the Cambie Surgical Centre in Vancouver.
Dr. Bell has recently been appointed as Deputy Health Minister in Ontario and is leaving a hospital network that encourages medical tourism, allowing patients from other countries to be treated at UHN by paying for their own care. This makes a lot of sense. Currently there are unemployed and underemployed specialists to the tune of approximately 16% of all new graduates. There are operating rooms that must close for weeks at a time to allow hospitals to balance their budgets to meet provincial accountability agreements and hundreds of thousands of patients across Canada waiting in queues.
The revenue generated by having out of country patients pay for procedures and care at the UHN allows hospitals to spend resources on patients who are not paying. This has a certain symbiosis that could be a win/win/win, for out of country patients, for Canadian patients and for employment at many levels for Canadians. Despite this, various groups are already lining up to request that this service be stopped. Not only should it NOT be stopped, I believe it should be made available to Canadians as well so that both health human resources and infrastructure can be used maximally as well as creating a source of revenue for hospitals and even for government, not to mention the primary goal of allowing more patients to get the care they need.
Dr. Brian Day is another health care expert who is courageous in his attempts to advocate for vulnerable patients forced to wait in Canada's failing single payer system. He is bringing a legal challenge to the laws that prohibit individuals from paying for medically necessary care. You can find more information at the following site:
As our aging population requires more services and more care and with relatively fewer workers to provide the tax base in the future, we need to be open minded about how to allow more people to access more care in ways that are acceptable to them.
There are times when the unions and the media and the "entrenched" drown out reasonable voices on health care change. I hope that the voices of Dr. Bell and Dr. Day will be heard at many levels, and that change will occur to support sustainability of a Hybrid health care system that combines a robust public system with private options for medically necessary care.
It is challenging to stand out from the crowd to say and do what is necessary. Please support sustainable change where you can. Thank you.