Imagine a sizeable portion of your body covered with bright red spots and thick scaly patches. Imagine being so itchy and uncomfortable that you hardly ever get a decent night's sleep. Dermatology nurses like me play an important role in helping people living with psoriasis manage their chronic condition.
Eric Hoskins has taken the position that the health care needs a "system transformation." I wholeheartedly agree with that statement. However, rather than get to work on meaningful transformation, he has elected to play politics instead. The result will be a continuance of uncertainty and compromised health care for all Ontarians.
This may come as a shock to some readers: Teachers are human beings -- nearly all of them. This means that, like the rest of us, they make mistakes, behave badly, and sometimes just lose it. It also means that, like the rest of us, most teachers are basically good and honest people who work hard to do a very difficult job. But some are not. And the ones who are not should not be teaching.
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.
Without a doubt, the ones that help me the most are the many wonderful nurses that I have worked with over the years. Without the help of these hard working people, who often have to carry out the most menial and unpleasant tasks, there is simply no way that my patients could get the care they deserve. This is why the current treatment of nurses by the Ontario Government is so appalling and offensive to me.
What's the most upsetting in all this is the speed with which the government invests large amounts in a private company for a high-risk project at the same time as it is loath to invest in public services. Our government of bankers and businessmen should remember that it is responsible for managing for the common good -- period!
Experiencing a medical emergency is an incredibly stressful experience for patients and their families. This stress should not be compounded by worries about getting an ambulance bill they can't afford. As physicians, we know the importance of the first few minutes of an emergency situation, and the crucial role of Emergency Medical Services (EMS) in saving lives. And yet ambulance fees remain a significant barrier to people receiving necessary care across Canada.
A federal election could be called any time in the next few months, judging by the media coverage and the ramping up of political activity. Many issues have been crowding into the media headlines in anticipation of the election -- but with a notable absence of any consideration of healthcare by our political parties. Apparently the subject is still on the minds of the electorate though, at least amongst my own circle of friends, colleagues and neighbours, many of whom note the leading edge of our baby-boomers have now turned 65.
In a public healthcare system, too often system failures end up as fodder for Question Period battles rather than impetus for learning. When investments have been made in new models of health service funding and delivery that don't work out, it can be difficult to proclaim failure as a means to move toward success.
The continuum of patient-centred care could include a consistency of health care professionals familiar with a patient's case and who are buttressed by the flow of relevant patient history and investigations. Patient centredness by the professional care-giver would target care, communication and common ground or a shared understanding between those receiving the care and those providing it.
The dismal record of for-profit hospitals illustrates the problem with running hospitals as businesses. The for-profits have higher death rates and employ fewer clinical personnel like nurses than their non-profit counterparts. But care at for-profits actually costs more, and they spend much more on the bureaucracy, a reflection of the high cost of implementing shrewd financial strategies. Canadian hospital administrators don't have to play financial games to assure their survival.
While policy should be evidence-informed rather than belief-based, the complexity of health-system change makes it difficult to draw a straight line from one evidence-based improvement to health-system change as a whole. Improving the quality and quantity of evidence-based decision-making is perhaps the greatest challenge in systematically devising policies for bending the cost curve.
Last fall when I visited Canada, I met a Toronto doctor named Gary Bloch who has developed a poverty tool for medical practitioners. Bloch's idea was to zoom in on the social determinants of health -- food, housing, transportation -- all poverty markers linked to bad health and poor health outcomes.
In the wake of new health expenditure data from the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI), the evidence continues to mount that Canadian public health expenditure growth is moderating. Moreover, adjusting for inflation and population growth, per capita provincial and territorial government health expenditures have actually declined since their peak in 2010.
Providing effective communication is critical to ensuring health care workers feel informed and safe at work. Nursing union representatives have clearly expressed that nurses do not feel prepared for Ebola in their hospitals. Media stories have documented how personal protective equipment and training for front line health workers hasn't been available in all hospital locations across the country.
A recent court challenge before the British Columbia Supreme Court threatened to change the rules of the game for the Canadian healthcare system -- should the challenge have made its way to the Supreme Court of Canada and found success there. How our health system should be reformed, and in what measures, is nothing short of a national pastime in Canada. Too bad many get the facts wrong. Here are a few basics everyone should know.
It seems there is a disconnect between Canadians' personal views and their idea of how well the health system works for society at large. Canadians tout the public health care model as a big part of our national identity, say their experiences are mostly positive -- but then worry the system is failing.