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I can see that we are once again heading for the same situation as the late 1990s/early 2000s, when many medical trainees stopped going into comprehensive family medicine. The reasons then were due to increased workload, better opportunities in other specialties and an extremely poor relationship with the government of the day. To suggest that there was a crisis in family medicine would be dramatically understating the issue.
Primary care is considered the front door to our health-care system. Whether you're going for a general check-up or have just been diagnosed with cancer, your family doctor makes sure you get the tests, treatment and care you need. But not all family practices in Ontario are created equal.
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B.C. attempted to coax individual doctors to provide important primary care services (chronic disease management, mental health care and preventative care, for example) and discourage walk-in style practice by providing additional incentive payments within the public fee-for-service system.
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For many people, visiting a primary care provider isn't just about receiving care for an isolated injury or illness in the moment that matters. It's about building a long-term relationship -- one that gradually unfolds and many involve working together with several other specialists to address different ailments or chronic conditions that could potentially arise over time. Yet, a new report from Health Quality Ontario shows that this ideal isn't always the case.
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Getting the best primary care in Ontario may depend on where you live or who you are. That's because not everyone can access same-day or next-day care when they are ill, or receive a timely call back after phoning their primary care provider. Some Ontarians feel more involved than others in decisions related to their care.
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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."
When I was in training, most family doctors worked only with other family doctors and registered nurses. Today, my health care team is rich with a variety of critical skills. But what's missing -- and should be an essential part of any healthcare team -- is the digital expert.
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Health care reform is a central policy consideration for most industrialized countries both because of its cost to government and citizens and perhaps more importantly because it is a highly valued, personal service that citizens care deeply about.
Since 2006, British Columbia has spent more than $1 billion to improve primary health care. So have B.C. patients benefited from such a massive investment? Sadly, it appears not.
Many countries offer sophisticated medical care and universal coverage and yet have very different health-care models. And, more importantly, several of these countries achieve better health outcomes. To be fair, international health care rankings never offer a consensus on which country truly has "the best" system. But there is one area where these rankings are consistent: they usually place Canada and the U.S. mid to low pack. I believe both countries can do so much better.
In Canada, the untold story is that although they are insured, 300,000 people are without a primary care doctor, because no matter how many doctors there are, it won't be enough if they have to limit the number of appointments they can grant a month.