The MRI showed that the number of lesions on his brain had doubled, and that the medication was not working. I immediately started to tear up and the genius doctor looked at me and then at my husband and said, "Graeme, I believe I have said something to upset your wife." This doctor was seriously intuitive.
In his letter to the minister, Prime Minister Trudeau tasked Health Minister Philpott with "engaging provinces and territories in the development of a new, multi-year Health Accord with long-term funding agreement." As the health ministers meet in Vancouver, how can they bend the curve toward a less costly and more effective health care system? How can they ensure the funds invested this time around will buy real improvements in health?
As patients are becoming more knowledgeable about their own care, and as doctors develop a wider array of options available to treat diseases, the costs are increasing. So it may be time to better distinguish between medically necessary care and optional care, for the sake of our country's limited health care budget going forward. It's a discussion worth having.
Why do we not dedicate even a fraction of what we put into actually paying our health workers for their services into coordinated planning for those services? We don't just need another short term task force to manage health worker supply. We need effective management of our entire health workforce on an ongoing basis.
Using non-beneficial medications or failing to offer comfort medications to chronically ill patients is potentially harmful, time-consuming and simply bad medical care. Unnecessary or unwarranted medical interventions, including medications, are also costly to the healthcare system. It's time to embrace new ways of thinking.
We desperately need universal coverage for a full array of health care goods and services -- pharmaceuticals, mental health services, home care and out-of-hospital diagnostics. Canada is unique among OECD countries in the paucity of what it covers on a universal basis despite falling in the top quartile of countries in levels of per capita health spending.
The push for doctors to treat social issues like poverty is starting to change the way we practice medicine and how we work with community agencies and those with expertise in income benefits, food security and poverty law. Many health organizations now are right in the middle of advocacy for better social conditions. Major medical organizations, including the Canadian Medical Association and the Canadian College of Family Physicians have been vocal in their support for this approach. This demonstrates a real acceptance by the medical mainstream that reducing patients' poverty is a core part of a doctor's job.
You will know well from history that real change won't happen by providing more federal money with unconditional transfers.Real change will require helping provinces to shift the focus of our health system away from those who are relatively well resourced to new areas of care, such as essential pharmaceuticals and homecare.
Our health system often divides mental health from physical health into distinct silos of care and treatment, yet no such mind-body duality exists in actual patients. Many individuals with chronic health conditions simultaneously experience mental health issues -- and the reverse -- and such "concurrent" health challenges are far from uncommon.
While interviewing a Sunnybrook surgeon a few months ago, the topic of superstitions came up. He told me that similar to the general public, superstitions are common among medical practitioners. Studies have shown that superstitions are more prevalent in professions and circumstances with higher degrees of uncertainty.
As the public watches "entitled" physicians struggle under the barrage of Liberal hostility, they miss the very real danger of a government stuffing an already glutted health care system with more administration. As David Gatzer pointed out, this is "a system designed for political popularity, not smart policy."
What good is it to treat illness if we can only send our patients back to the conditions that helped make them sick to begin with? Our health is strongly influenced by factors such as income, our working environment and affordable housing, over which neither patients nor medical doctors have much control.
Lack of healthcare has dire consequences for the well-being of refugees and can also stand in the way of their integration into new environments. For the four-million Syrian refugees living in the neighbouring countries, their access to healthcare has been severely hampered by the funding shortage facing aid agencies.
National drug coverage has long been a priority for the more than one in five Canadian households that can't afford to buy needed prescription medicines. But in spite of decades of calls for a new program, the idea seemed not ready for primetime. The cost of national pharmacare was seen to be too great in a time of low political appetite for new universal benefits. But it turns out that pharmacare isn't a money sucker -- it's a money saver.
With all due respect to André Picard and his assessment that the social media voice of Ontario doctors is sounding "shrill, self-indulgent and counterproductive" as they continue their dispute with the Ontario government over fee cuts, I would counter that, given their current situation, our physicians are acting in a perfectly rational manner.