The main symptom of the failure of Canada’s rigid healthcare system is the outrageously growing waiting lists. While the ever powerful health unions screech for more beds in hopes of getting more dues-paying members, we hear little about the chronic lack of health specialists. A million more hospital beds will do little to end waits times in Alberta though I guess the patients can languish in more comfort in the waiting. More beds will lead to more hospital islands where grumpy nurses can do crossword puzzles while harried LPNs scramble to dole out painkillers and empty the bedpans of people waiting for treatments.
The wait times for orthopaedic surgeons in Alberta are horrific for example. The few surgeons that we have are already maxed out. Now one would presume then that the priority would be to get more surgeons. Nope, according to union-math we need more beds.
Despite massive spending increases every year, our health facilities are chronically low on money despite reduced services. This is what leads to brainstorms on the part of health bureaucrats such as the bunch in the High Prairie hospital who decided that re-using syringes was a good way to save some money!
While Louis Pasteur sort of figured out the sterilization idea some 150 years ago and most mom’s who spray a little bactine on a skinned knee have figured this out, apparently this is a concept beyond the comprehension of our health administrators and professionals in High Prairie.
Setting aside the rather increased risk of patient infection, lets see how much this brilliant initiative has saved. Well, in looking at medical supply sites online I find that the average syringe is about 13 cents when bought in lots of 1000. Surely within the bulk budget of a hospital.
Lets say the hospital (it is a smaller one) re-used 100 syringes per day these last few years. Will the cumulative total savings of $13 per day for the last few years make up for the thousands of people who will now be scrambling to be tested for Hep-C and HIV? If any are indeed infected, I wonder how much the legal settlement will be?
Going beyond the fiscal idiocy of this, think of the human damage. What kind of stress are former patients of that hospital enduring in waiting to find out if they hit the jackpot in the infection lottery? How many actually may die from this?
Another irony in our blessed “universal” system regarding syringes is that while my diabetic son is not covered for the syringes he needs to stay alive, we give free needles to any junkie who has chosen to slowly kill themselves.
The growing waiting lists, the lack of specialists, the skyrocketing costs and the terrible examples of management are all clear indicators of a health system that is failing.
We have turned Canada’s healthcare system into a sacred-cow. Anybody who calls for any form of change aside from increased spending is immediately pilloried and accused of trying to “Americanize” our system. In a religious like fervor, normally rational people fly off the handle if somebody dares state that perhaps this system that we share only with North Korea and Cuba may be less than perfect.
Well get over it. One of the largest myths that desperately needs to be shattered is that there are only two healthcare systems in the world; the American one and our own. It is a sad and willful idiocy on our own part that we will not simply look outside of our continent and study the systems that are performing the best.
France has been dominating the world in healthcare rankings for some years now. While France still enjoys universal coverage, they have greatly privatized the provision of their healthcare. This has opened their system up to the innovation required in order to build the best system possible. France can compete and retain specialists as well as keep costs reasonable. A private hospital would soon go out of business if they were found to be doing something as stupid as re-using syringes as they would if they could not retain their professionals.
Aside from France, every nation that ranks above Canada in healthcare provision (there are some 30 of them) has more private involvement than Canada allows.
We are locked in ideology rather than reality in Canada. It is shameful that people would defend the suffering happening in our nation simply because they will not take the socialist egalitarian blinders off.
Rest assured change will occur in our system whether we like it or not. The spending increases are unsustainable and the service is increasingly unacceptable. The only question is whether or not we will study and pursue change now, or when the system truly and fully collapses?
I fear it will be the latter.