Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Canadian surgery wait-times longest yet

Tom Blackwell wrote in "Surgery waits longest yet", National Post (Oct.16, 2007):

“Canadians waited longer than they have in more a decade for non-emergency surgery this year, despite a multi-billion-dollar effort by governments to speed up medical care, according to a controversial think-tank report released yesterday.
The average wait between being referred to a specialist and receiving an elective operation was 18.3 weeks in 2006, up from 17.8 the year previous, concluded the conservative Fraser Institute in its annual look at medical backlogs. That is the longest delay recorded since the institute began studying the issue 17 years ago.
Based on a survey of medical specialists across Canada, the report suggested that queues grew the most in the period between a family physician referring a patient to a specialist, and the specialist actually seeing the person: a logjam that most provinces are not even tracking.
Ontario had the shortest average surgery wait time - 15 weeks - and Saskatchewan the longest - 27 weeks - the study indicated. "Clearly, money is not the solution," said Nadeem Esmail, a Fraser health care analyst and co-author of the report.
"We're dumping money into the system; we're piling on cash that the system has available to deliver health care and it is not able to significantly reduce the waiting times. In fact, we're seeing the wait times continue to grow."
As it has in previous years, the institute argued that the way to solve the backlogs is to introduce competition between private and public providers of government-funded health care and allow a parallel private system…
The institute is wrong, however, about how to get rid of the backlogs, maintained Michael Rachlis, a Toronto physician and pro-medicare analyst.
"We do have a terrible problem, but the problems come from a very disorganized delivery system, no common wait lists and so forth," he said. "There are all sorts of not-for-profit solutions." ”

So: pro-medicare pusher Michael Rachlis admits that forty years of socialized medicine in Canada has yielded “a very disorganized delivery system” and “a terrible problem” – then blithely continues to prescribe the disease - “all sorts of not-for-profit solutions” - as the cure?! (And this is what the HillaryCare/Michael Moore-types in the States want to aspire to?) It’s ironic, and sadly fitting, that medicare’s Canadian grand-pappy Tommy Douglas’s home province of Saskatchewan suffers the longest wait lists.

While Rachlis tries to reinvent the socialist healthcare wheel, Ontario has developed a new export market: shuffling patients off to Buffalo and beyond for treatment which our medicare monopoly, by its very nature, is unable to provide here. Now that our dollar is stronger, outsourcing our healthcare to the States is more affordable.

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