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Canadian Health Care, Essay Example

Pages: 5

Words: 1328

Essay

Waiting Time Policy in Canadian Health Care System

Nowadays, Canada is considered one of the most developed and service-oriented countries in the world; moreover, it is well-praised for its health care system that is free and accessible for everybody. In fact, there are numerous public debates discussing necessary and urgent changes of the health care policy and system in general; it is announced that the system lacks sufficient funding and struggles corporate profiteering and demographic surcharge. Nevertheless, it is known that the government spends billions of dollars on investigating province hospitals, investigating into new technologies, and observing the main principles of Canada Health Act.

The major problem has always been restricting policy to medical treatment access that results in long-term waiting lists. Although the government funds the Medicare system in the country, it is obvious that it is unable to cover all the costs; it is also necessary to take into consideration that the medical science does not stand at the same position, it has been developing steadily with constant appearance of new technologies and drugs that also increase spending. Without public involvement, the government reveals the inability of the state and the health care system to provide and ensure high-quality treatment to everybody.

Though Canada is one of the seven OECD countries providing free medical service, it is considered to occupy the worst place in the world because of its wait lists. Besides general inconvenience and indignation of the public, it often causes severe problems to the well-being of the patients that lack appropriate and timely medical care. These expectations sometimes and lately even more often result in death of patients or their health conditions worsen so much that there is no more need in the professional help.

The system of Canadian health care is based on reasonable and good intentioned principles such as public administration, comprehensiveness, universality, portability, and accessibility (Butler, 2009). Nevertheless, the system expecting to offer a variety of services free to every resident and available anywhere in Canada does not provide the whole set of health care treatments. According to the primary objective of Canadian health care policy (1985), it is to protect, promote and restore the physical and mental well-being of residents of Canada and to facilitate reasonable access to health services without financial or other barriers (p. 5). Nevertheless, Canadian publications have been currently exploding with shocking medical stories.

As the main demand is for hospitable beds and physicians, the government funds these aspects of health care while it is almost impossible to get the services such as drug prescription, dentistry, ophthalmology, optometry, reproductive care, and cosmetic items. Long-term wait lists serve to cut the costs on the above fields through exceptional access to the specialist and procedures. The worst thing here is that government authorities supported by media claim that this is a necessary restriction and is the solution to the problems existing in the current system.

Because of the government attempts to manage the free Medicare system as well as save budget funds at the same time, the health care is supposed to be the most bureaucratic social industry in the country. Treatment and medical attention are required by large groups of population, but the system cannot satisfy all the demands that results in long queues when crowds of patients need the diagnosis or treatment simultaneously. The policy of waiting queues reveals the constant necessity of patients in doctors, nurses, and hospitable beds; the schedule books purposing to solve these problems arouse long-term waiting especially for particular diagnosis procedures when some patients drop the attempts to get the proper treatment and seek it in private clinics or stop their waiting because of recovery or even death.

Avoiding the schedule book system is possible only if there are acquaintances involved in the health care field who may help in skipping the long-months expectation. Apart from inconvenience and indignation, poor medical management has already resulted in some accidents with negative consequences; there are some cases when people may wait for hours in emergency lobbies without seeing a doctor. These situations may arouse conflicts with personnel and even result in aggressive behavior and actions that lead to nothing, but law problems concerning both parties.

The selective approach of the government also covers the sphere of chronic diseases treatment that mostly involves long-term medical care and home care assistance. That is hardly affordable by the system because of the expenses as while struggling with such difficult and usually multiple chronic diseases, the patients usually need various services responding their multiple and changing needs and full-fledged attention of the experienced staff. As a result, chronic-ill patients face long wait list for certain specialists and tests, limited resources provided, and lack of technology required.

There is another aspect of the holding-the-line-on-costs policy pursued by the government; it is to provide a selective effect on patients’ demands that are often inappropriate. This means that some referrals for medical procedures and treatment are unjustified because of their free nature. However, when there is an opportunity to experience a long wait list, such demands stand no longer as there is no sharp need in them (Davies, 1999, p. 1469). Nevertheless, it is only in a specialist’s responsibility to evaluate the necessity in some kinds of treatments and drugs as the symptoms can be interpreted by the patient in a wrong way.

While selecting inappropriate patients’ referral, the government policy also causes serious health consequences for those who really need timely treatment. The longest waiting lists concern such important spheres for patients’ well-being as urology, general surgery, ophthalmology, and otolaryngology. The other spheres suffering from inability to provide sufficient medical help are plastic surgery, gynecology, neurosurgery, orthopedics, cardiology, and internal medicine (Globerman, 1991, p.253)

It is also important to take into consideration the cost of the waiting lists that are supposed to save government costs, but mismanage to help patients. Wrongly supposed as a solution, the waiting policy is a serious problem that causes numerous deaths of patients who spent the rest of their lives waiting for medical help. Apart from death cases, health conditions often worsen that much that it is either too risky to conduct treatment such as surgery or there is no more need in it. It is not stated in system statistic reports that the patients who manage to wait to the doctor’s appointment have to wait again to receive the appropriate treatment.

According to Esmail article (2004), a number of programs have been created at the provincial and local levels to both report surgical waiting times to the public and better organize and manage patients waiting for care (p. 3). Although it is a positive step to build public awareness of the existing problem, the negative side of it is that the problem is considered to be an essential part of the Medicare system. In fact, the government should solve disadvantages of the system through attracting and implementing market mechanisms into the public insurance scheme (Esmail, 2004).

The policy of waiting lists is a burden for the Canadian health care system that prevents it from development and efficiency of provided services. This policy should be eliminated as the main reason of society disease; it is necessary to build a health care system that will be able to provide needed treatment in compliance with appropriate time limits. The government should focus on conducting detailed patients’ data to establish the proper demand for medical services as well as use only expertized and experienced medical staff to translate the findings into sufficient guidelines reflecting the amount and kind of services needed to be provided.

References

Butler, G.J. (2009). The Health Care Debate in Canada: One Canadian Radiologist’s View. Canadian Association of Radiologists Journal, no. 60, pp. 11-15.

Canada Health Act (1985). Minister of Justice, Retrieved from http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca

Davies, R.F. (1999). Waiting Lists for Health Care: A Necessary Evil?. CMAJ: Canadian Medical Association Journal, Vol.160, Iss.10, pp. 1469-1470.

Esmail, N. (2004). Fixing Waiting Times. Fraser Forum, p.3.

Globerman, S. (1991). A Policy Analysis of Hospital Waiting Lists. Journal of Policy Analysis & Management, Vol.10, Iss.2, pp. 247-262.

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