Canada’s healthcare system under siege


#HCinCanada #onpoli #healthcare #canada

The country is still grappling with an acute crisis in our hospitals stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic while the slow-moving quagmire caused by the country’s aging population threatens to become a larger disaster.
With reports of hospital emergency rooms under strain and cases of flu, RSV, and COVID-19 spiking across Canada, health care has surpassed inflation and jobs as the top national issue of concern, according to Nanos Research’s weekly tracking.
The latest Nanos tracking shows a four-week change in the top unprompted national issue of concern – unprompted meaning the Canadians surveyed were not provided a list of issues to choose from.
Alica Lafontaine, president of the Canadian Medical Association, said healthcare systems across the country face similar challenges, as governments must come together to address them.
Healthcare workers and patients call on governments to take the necessary steps to stabilize and rebuild our health systems to ensure their survival.”
Canadian Nurses Association President Sylvain Brosseau said nurse shortages and other workforce issues are having a severe impact on the healthcare system and the government must act urgently and introduce structural reforms before people lose faith in the system. “The Canadian health care system is failing people in Canada, it no longer works the way it should be. People are rapidly losing confidence and are worried that they won’t be able to access vital health services when they need them,” Brosseau said.
Healthcare sector needs more money and political change to recruit more staff to cut the time Canadians spend in the emergency rooms.
In a year-end interview with The Canadian Press on Monday, Trudeau said he’s not willing to kick healthcare reform down the road any further, even as provincial premiers clamour for more federal funds to bolster their ailing health systems.
“It wouldn’t be the right thing to do to just throw more money at the problem and sit back and watch the problem not get fixed because we didn’t use this moment to say, ‘No, no, no, it’s time to improve the system,’” Trudeau said.
The problem goes back to more than a year ago, when provinces first demanded a sit-down with the prime minister to talk about long-term and sustainable funding increases after the pandemic strain left them with large backlogs and a burnt-out workforce.
Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos made an overture to the provinces last month, offering an increase to the federal health transfer in exchange for improved data sharing across the country.
But the meeting ended without progress. Dix said Duclos came to the table with no specifics, and conversations about the health transfer have continued to be elusive with the Liberals.
Canada has 2.8 doctors per 1,000 residents, while most of our European peers range from 3.0 to 5.5. One way to address that, said Shaw, is to make it more feasible for properly trained foreign doctors to practise in Canada.

The impact of these shortages is felt when Canadians are referred to a specialist physician by a general practitioner. These wait times have been increasing throughout the pandemic, with the average wait of 22.6 weeks in 2020 growing to 25.6 weeks in 2021, according to the Fraser Institute. Although there is a lot of variation between the provinces, the shortest average wait time, in Ontario, is still 18.5 weeks.

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