Here is Nadeem Esmail's response (National Post, Oct.20, 2007) to Tony Clement:
"Health Minister has the facts wrong
Re: Health Minister Defends Wait Times, letter to the editor, Oct. 17.
Federal Health Minister Tony Clement's letter regarding The Fraser Institute's report on hospital waiting times makes two major mistakes. First, The Fraser Institute publishes Canada's only national, comparable and comprehensive measurement of wait times for medically necessary services. The survey is mailed to all of Canada's practising specialists for whom we have contact information with a response rate of 26%. This is not a small or unreliable sample.
The second mistake pertains to the minister's discussion of Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) data showing an increasing number of surgeries in Canada as proof that wait times are improving. Unfortunately, those numbers are only one side of the equation. Without information on the demand for surgeries, it is impossible to determine what the CIHI data means for wait times. Demand for surgery may have increased by more than the increase in the number of surgeries.
Canada's health care system is the developed world's second most expensive universal access health insurance program and is unable to deliver timely access to medically necessary care for many Canadians. Canada requires leadership on health care, not rhetoric and misleading information.
Nadeem Esmail, director of health system performance studies, The Fraser Institute, Vancouver."
Now's about the time for that 'plan B', isn't it? In Ontario, we should also be asking the McGuinty Liberals, who are actually responsible for the health system, to stop their rhetoric and misinformation as well. On Sept. 26, 2007, during the election, we saw a sullen McGuinty walk away from cancer patient Mike Brady, calling Brady's claims that McGuinty wasn't helping him "not true". It's frightening how many more patients a re-elected and now emboldened McGuinty will walk away from in the next four long years.
We need consumer choice in healthcare to be reintroduced and to be placed back into the hands of the patient.