The Fraser Institute’s indictment of health care

The Fraser Institute has issued a new report, Waiting Your Turn: Wait Times for Health Care in Canada.

Their report, issued on November 25th, is a must read. For a country which prides itself on the quality of its health care and considers universality as a national trait, the findings are scandalous. It is an indictment on how our health care system is managed. Wait times continue to grow, which means people suffer longer and in some situations become more ill. As the report says, “Wait times can, and do, have serious consequences such as increased pain, suffering, and mental anguish. In certain instances, they can also result in poorer medical outcomes—transforming potentially reversible illnesses or injuries into chronic, irreversible conditions, or even permanent disabilities.”

To see where your province is on the wait-list lottery check the chart at the bottom. Then ask your executives – and politicians – to explain why, over 21 years and billions of dollars, nothing gets better? Not the system, not the patients.

Click here for a succinct, easily understood read:

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2 Responses to The Fraser Institute’s indictment of health care

  1. Bubbie says:

    Earlier this year, Health and Wellness Minister Leo Glassine declared, “There is no more money for bricks and mortar for new nursing homes” in an attempt to keep people in their own homes longer. Well, I wonder how this is working for him?

    The wait list for home care services in Nova Scotia has increased from 422 people to 760 within a six month period of this year. When asked about this situation by Rick Howe on 95.7’s talk show in Halifax, last week, Minister Glavine stated that the wait list for those waiting for a long term care bed was down, but less than a week later another headline read, “Home-care waiting list jumps in last six months”! The wait list for a nursing home bed has ballooned to 2,725 people with over 300 people waiting in hospital for a nursing home bed. Within a few days of these reports, former Deputy Health and Wellness Minister, Kevin McNamara, in a letter to the Editor, in The Chronicle Herald, stated that the McNeil Government needs to do more for long term care services. He also stated that there were more nursing home beds going to be lost as the Federal Government closes the beds at the Veterans Memorial Hospital causing the Vets now occupying those beds to be transferred to regular long term care beds within the province.

    It was under Kevin McNamara’s watch that 500 long term beds were cancelled from the Tory’s Ten Year Long Term Care Plan that was supposed to create 1350 beds by the end of 2013. It was the decision made by Mr. McNamara and his assistant Ruby Knowles to cancel these beds because they decided it was cheaper to keep people in their own homes longer and was adopted by incoming Health and Wellness Minister, Leo Glavine. Mr. McNamara made the statement that the cost of keeping people in their own homes longer could be reduced from $330.00 a day in a nursing home to $35.00 a day to keep them in their own home. I know this for a fact because I was involved in meetings with Mr. McNamara and Ms. Knowles in an effort to get them to change their minds on cancelling the long term care beds. I also met with Minister Glavine after he made his statement not to build new nursing homes. The same bureaucrats who served under Rodney MacDonald also served under the Dexter Government and are still employed under the McNeil Government and are the ones responsible for the adverse affects in our acute care system resulting in longer wait times for surgeries and emergency situations.

    The present long term care situation involving long wait times is illustrated by the situation that exists in Cape Breton’s Northside Hospital where so many people are occupying hospital beds, waiting for a long term care nursing home bed, that it was rumoured the hospital was going to be converted to a long term care facility. This hospital is also experiencing acute ER closures. The situation in this hospital is so bad that staff doctors expressed their concerns to the media. Apparently Minister Glavine is talking to staff to see what can be done to remedy the situation.

    It is obvious that staffing shortages is the main cause surrounding the cuts made to long term care and is what is ailing the Northside Hospital, but I fear another expensive “study” will create another “report” as to how to remedy the horrendous situation in our health care system is about to be created under the McNeil government that will only add to the long wait times in this province. The only thing that will fix the mess our health care system is in is to get rid of the long-serving bureaucrats and their stale vision of how to make our health care system better by getting rid of the the present government and electing new MLAs that have the balls to replace the present do-nothing bunch of bureaucrats.

    A side note to all of this are whispers that long-term care may become fully privatized with the provincial government bailing out, transferring the full costs of long term care on to families of loved ones requiring long-term care.

    • Once again, thanks for your contribution to the discussion. It’s critical for people to be reminded of the back-story and past actions of those in charge so we understand how and why we are where we are and to be skeptical of announcements and pronouncements.

      One of the things which doesn’t seem to have changed is the placement process. Doctors have told me it was opaque and arbitrary. It’s as secretive as the Star Chamber. But then it works to their advantage because it keeps those in need and their families from learning what people don’t know or haven’t done. In our situation I found that the placement people had no idea of the availability of long-term care beds locally, nor did they understand the level of care local facilities were licensed to provide. I can only image this is the situation across the province.

      Then we get into the area of wasted or under-utilized assets. For example, what are the plans for former hospital in Truro? Why can’t it be turned into long-term care? It was good enough to be a hospital, why can’t a quick rehab turn it into a workable facility to provide space for those in need? Of course, that’s a bricks and mortar question. We still need to find staff. We need a total rethink of how we educate/train nurses and care givers, as well as the division of labour and delivery of care. I’ll have more on this later. I believe that the severe staffing shortages may actually force some private facilities out of business.

      As for who is in charge, non-health care executives and academics have asked if I knew if there would be a competition for positions in the realigned health care system or if the vice presidents, like the CEO, will just be ministerial appointments? I hadn’t considered that. But then, as with many such competitions, the people who draw up the job descriptions write them with a particular candidate in mind so the favoured person is guaranteed to win.

      On the topic of voting in new MLAs, who would we get? In government, the NDP showed themselves intransigent to change. The previous Tory government maintained the status quo. The current Tory leadership did embrace change in the election campaign, but could they execute it any faster than the Liberals? I confess that my hope for the realigned system has suffered since of all the voices being heard patients and patient families continue to be drown out and not represented. So the question becomes where do we find these ballsy MLAs? And would another election just delay change as much as another unread, un-acted upon report.

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