February 15th, 2015
As a physician, I witness the inequities of our system on a daily basis. I treat women with chronic pain and endometriosis. In Ontario the wait times for surgical interventions that the best evidence available has indicated a significant improvement in pain scores and quality of life scores are now 9 months. Frequently cases towards the end of a surgical list are cancelled if the time left in the day is insufficient to complete the case before overtime may be required. Back onto a wait list!
Our two tiered system prioritizes joint surgeries. The University of Oxford has published that the impact of endometriosis on quality of life metrics is as significant as many orthopedic disorders, arthritic conditions and inflammatory bowel disease! Why do these patients have to wait for their surgeries while the wait time strategy allows hips and knees to jump the queue? None of these problems should have unacceptable wait times!
There are also other examples of "two tiers" within Canada. We can often manage pain with specific medications for the treatment of endometriosis that many patients cannot afford unless they have private insurance. They are left with a "free" surgical approach that should be the last resort.
Canadians need to accept that there are huge inequities in the present system. Every other western country except Cuba has allowed some form of parallel system. Every other western system save the American system has significantly better health system metrics than Canada. Let's get on with the task of fixing the system for Canadians. To do so we need to face the reality of the deficiencies of our existing healthcare "system".
I suspect the writer means nursing and other hospital employee overtime. MDs typically do not receive "overtime "
Even Cuba had a mixed system. Canada and possibly North Korea (do we really know what is happening there?) are the only remaining countries to limit private options for medically necessary care.