There could be real innovation in Ontario health care if the "Anti-change" groups would stop their obstructing. Most recently, the cries from Ontario nursing unions and Canadian Doctors for Medicare have resulted in response to new funding streams being generated from medical tourism efforts at Toronto area hospitals.
Both the CMAJ and the Toronto Sun had recent articles on this. The Globe and Mail reported on this earlier in the year. I will post the links in the Comments section.
Let's face it. Ontario is strapped for cash. Thousands and thousands of Ontario patients are waiting in queues while ORs sit idle for weeks every year and while beds exist on wards but are neither staffed nor funded. Medical tourism could contribute to helping hospitals provide more services and care to Ontario patients.
Doris Grinspun, as usual, speaks against any such option. Apparently, she would rather see patients wait in queues than get the publicly funded services they need. The fact that hospitals are finding their budgets squeezed by Ontario's financial circumstances seems to be completely missed by her. Medical tourism has the potential to provide more income to the hospital thereby allowing it to provide more services to Ontario patients through the public system. It should be a Win-Win situation but somebody did not invite Ms Grinspun to the decision-making party. She is not happy.
Patients coming from abroad would provide income to hospitals who will use idle infrastructure and unused specialist time to provide the care. Ontario patients would not be "bumped" because of medical tourism. On the contrary, the additional revenue stream from medical tourism would be advantageous to Ontario patients. This new funding stream does not necessarily fit with Doris Grinspun's rigid ideology but it is a necessary step in a new and innovative direction.
Canadian Doctors for Medicare appears to be fixated on a single payer system at some level of unattainable purity. Dr. Dutt suggests that allowing medical tourism would cause specialists and surgeons to work "part time". She appears to avoid the harsh reality that despite less than developed world per capita physician average, Ontario is unable to employ 16% of graduating specialists in their area of expertise.
Dr Dutt should be reminded that surgeons train many years to hone their skills. They need operating room time to preserve them and can use medical tourism opportunities to continue to serve patients. The revenue provided by medical tourism could also assist more Ontario patients to benefit from the skills of these same physicians lessening wait times and creating a more productive population.
The Ontario public needs to understand how medical tourism can be helpful in making more services available to them. Nursing unions and Canadian Doctors for Medicare should get a grip on reality or get out of the way. Patients are waiting.