You can’t pick up a paper or turn on the news these days without being inundated with events that make you shake your head. The world almost seems to be wobbling on its axis. Canada can normally rest easy in its reputation of being the patient and polite northern neighbours but just a quick glimpse of our not just broken, but totally bloodied and dismembered healthcare system qualifies us as solid competitors for the “this just can’t be happening” global query trophy.
The loss caused by our healthcare wait times is determined by a host of perspective-based measurements. The most obvious is the undeniable human suffering. Studies have illustrated the correlation between physical and emotional suffering since the wait times started being recorded some 20+ years ago. The “pain” is broken up distinctly. Disease or injury is the catalyst, which is exponentially compounded by a sense of hopelessness. Somehow you have to find a way to cope with the fact that this pain, or pathology, will hijack your quality of life for the next several years. It will swallow up your happiness, your passions and your ability to be a friend….even a friend to yourself.
The ever-present dichotomy remains, which is, while you must wait to receive healthcare your employment and financial responsibilities will not take the same pause. The Fraser Institute’s Centre for Health Policy Studies indicates, “when calculations are extended to include the value of time outside the traditional work week – evenings and weekends – the estimated cost of waiting jumps from $1.7 billion to $5.2 billion, or from $1,759 per patient to about $5, 360 per patient. Since wait times and incomes vary by province so does the cost of waiting for healthcare. In 2016 residents of Nova Scotia faced the highest private cost of per patient waiting ($2,611), followed by British Columbia ($2,300) and Alberta ($2,188).”
The healthcare forecast for Canadians is grim. With 35 million currently neglected, and aging, all minor healthcare concerns, gone untreated, will inevitably evolve into serious diagnoses. Then what? Currently Canadians feel that going to the doctor will, “get them nowhere” so they don’t go. They ignore the probable melanoma on their cheek because they can’t see a dermatologist for at least a year anyways. They deny the searing pain down their arm and the numbness in their fingers because seeing a Neurologist is at least another 2 years down the road. If they can manage it with narcotics, then so be it. Not their style, nor their choice, but accessing timely healthcare apparently is no longer their right…….. And that is wrong.
About the Author
Kelly Meloche, President of International HealthCare Providers Inc., an Ontario-based company that connects Canadians to private medical care solutions.