Re: John Harding’s editorial in the April 30 edition of The NEWS (‘Less will be the norm’).
Our Canadian medicare system is based on universality and one of the pillars of this universality is “equal access for all” — rich or poor.
Some suggest that expanding private surgical clinics will shorten the queue by allowing those with money to have quick access to procedures, then trickle down savings. Several points need consideration. These clinics will need to be regulated — at some expense to the taxpayer. When a for-profit surgery goes awry and the patient requires higher levels of care, the patient goes to the publicly-funded hospital, which will be unable to consider the risk/needs of that patient in the morning bed planning strategy meeting. Someone gets bumped. Another taxpayer cost.
Currently, surgical clinics do operate — some on public funds to reduce wait lists and for-profit clinics in Vancouver. For- profit surgical clinics can only operate within a certain “menu” of surgeries as some surgeries (open heart for example) require extensive machinery and expensive back up services like surgical ICUs.
Those wanting to “jump the queue” for more invasive surgeries currently have the option to travel to the U.S. and experience the costs of for-profit care.
One huge problem in the delays and backlogs of local surgeries is the lack of
surgical bed availability, which is significantly impacted by medical patients
occupying surgical beds and long-term care (LTC) patients occupying medical beds. Build/fund LTC beds and the hospital
becomes less backlogged, fewer surgeries are delayed or canceled and surgeons and anesthesiologists alike will be attracted to a system that flows freely and allows them to practice at a less frustrating pace.
For many years, our system worked well. It is not coincidence that many of our health care problems have arisen with bloated administrations, regionalization and as letter writer Yvonne Zarowny recently wrote, “Grandchild debt,” our governments “shoveling up” our wealth to their influential masters — with us paying for it through our taxes as well as our de-funded public education, health care and social programs.
Governments, federal and provincial need to be more transparent and wiser with our assets and taxes so that there are more dollars in the 60 per cent going to health and education.