Dr. Charles S. Shaver
On July 12th, John Staples witnessed the death of an elderly man in a wheelchair in the emergency department waiting room of a hospital in Fredericton, New Jersey. As a result, the state health minister was replaced.
“They say we have free health care,” Staples said. “It seems to come at the cost of people’s lives.”
Such scenarios are not unique. They are associated with severe staffing shortages. For example, Ontario has fewer nurses per capita than any other province. Last weekend, 14 hospitals were operating without major services, including his ICU in Bowmanville and emergency departments in several cities.
From 2020 to 2021, at least 11,581 Canadians died while waiting for surgery, MRI or other scans, or to see a specialist, according to secondstreet.org. Canada ranks 69th in the world for the number of doctors per capita and 31st for the number of hospital beds by population.
But judges and politicians are surprisingly indifferent. Perhaps this is why they never endured his 10-hour wait in the emergency department and the potential for cancer screening, life-saving surgery, or treatment within the public system for months, possibly years. Because I don’t want to wait.
Quebec and several other provinces already have private clinics. There, patients who don’t want to wait months can pay for faster service within Canada. You can have a private MRI scan in ~48 hours.
This is very legal as health offerings are state/territory.
Our entire healthcare system is in jeopardy, both from a lack of adequate funding and from an ever-growing shortage of nurses and other professionals. Should state/territorial laws be amended to allow non-governmental safety valves such as exist in other developed countries such as Europe?
If politicians and courts are hesitant about further privatization, the federal government will have to significantly increase medical transfer payments.
Moreover, Germany has 11 times more health officials than Germany. To save a lot of money by cutting huge numbers of administrators in hospitals and state/territory health departments and redirecting those savings to hiring more nurses and other health workers. You can also
This alleviates the problem of under-employed orthopedic and other surgeons not getting enough surgical time to treat patients on long waiting lists.
One obvious criticism of increasing privatization is that nurses, doctors, etc. will be drawn from public to private systems, leaving the former even more understaffed.
Adequate paid sick pay and other financial incentives in the public system are therefore urgently needed to encourage nurses and other health professionals to return to the workforce. Also, regulated universities must find ways to expedite the licensing of foreign graduates already in Canada.
The BC Court of Appeal recently ruled against Dr. Brian Day and five patients who were challenging the ban on private insurance. This will certainly go to the Supreme Court of Canada for final judgment.
On the other hand, the status quo will continue unless the federal government increases payments for medical transfers and finds creative avenues soon to alleviate the acute shortage of nurses and other health care workers.
Most ordinary Canadians keep waiting, many suffer and some even die needlessly. Still, well-connected politicians and others will continue to jump the lines of the public system, along with some of the wealthy people in the United States and certain states who receive emergency care at their own expense.
Dr. Day asked: Canada is the only country in the world where access to private health care is barred and people are forced to be placed on a provincial waiting list at risk of harm. ”
Dr. Charles S. Shaver, an Ottawa physician, was born in Montreal and was past president of the General Medicine Division of the Ontario Medical Association.
Guest Column: Solving the Healthcare Crisis Means More Private Access or More Federal Support
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