On Feb. 23, 2017 YorkRegion.com posted an article regarding a Canadians journey to get a hip replacement surgery. I couldn’t help but respond……

Wait times are “the defining feature’ of health-care system

Canadians are relying on a healthcare system that has not met its primary principles ~ namely REASONABLE ACCESS ~ in at least 24 years. As millions are now suffering, some even dying, due to the inability to access proper and timely healthcare it is a virtual poison poured into the wound to tritely say, “there has been “slippage” following initial progress following the 2004 federal-provincial health care accord.” It is no longer good enough to say, as Mr. Michael Decter indicates, “We think the Canadian system can be fixed. We’re optimistic about that.”

We are now in 2017!!!

The only consistency shown is that the wait times have continued to grow. Fixing them with the same tools and philosophy, as what caused them to break, is not only counterproductive, it is a proven method to destroy lives and families.

Many Canadians are forced to become their own advocates but how many are really prepared to take that on? They’ve invested their trust and well-being to their doctors, who in truth, all have crowded waiting rooms filled with terrified and desperate patients that they can never attend to properly. Patients who call to check up on specialist appointments are greeted with a voicemail instructing them to refrain from appointment inquiries. Some offices go as far as to prevent messages from being left. Once they discover you in the pile, you’ll finally get a call. Yes, you are that significant

Patients have three choices. Some call on anyone they know to see if they have a connection with a specialist that is willing to break the “get in the queue” rules in hopes of being seen earlier ~ others leave the country and pay for care ~ the rest suffer and succumb to their disease or a new one that was invited in due to the ongoing physical, emotional and mental trauma.

There are two colossal factors when choosing which fork in that healthcare road to take. If you stay in Canada, your care will be paid for. If you stay in Canada you will get the specialist that is willing to see you first. So desperate for relief, many will adopt the “beggars can’t be choosers” philosophy and lay their broken bodies down on the table like a good little polite Canadian. Others will fiercely seek out answers. If they are going to spend their money then they want (and deserve!) the best. These patients will engage the services of agencies that have done the due diligence and can provide them with data on outcomes, infection rates and physician performance. Most importantly they won’t pay the alarmingly incorrect rates quoted such as $41,000 for a knee replacement in the US. Let’s stop scaring people with these irresponsibly inflated quotes and tell them the truth. Canadians can walk away with a new knee from a leading US healthcare provider for almost half that price!!

Waiting Canadian patients will literally, and quite gratefully, buy their lives back. The fork in the road that these medical travellers followed will lead them to world-renowned facilities and leaders, not only in medicine but also in service.

“Can I get you a cup of tea?” “Here is the doctors cell phone number if you need anything.” “I thought you would enjoy fresh flowers in your room, here you go.” That is the part of healthCARE that the Canadian system has also surrendered while it invested copious amounts of dollars in wait times task force analysis and strategies that has lead us to this disaster.

There are answers to this problem. It’s time to engage all of the resources available to provide patients with healthcare solutions. The “whatever it takes” is at our fingertips.