Friday, August 28, 2015

ELECTIONS ARE THE RIGHT TIME TO DISCUSS HEALTHCARE POLICY

I have always opposed the privatization of our countries health care system. In fact, this opposition has made me very skeptical about two-tier systems for fear that they could be the thin edge of the wedge towards privatization. 

As I began a family, and members of my own family grow older - the need for efficient timely diagnosis and treatment has become more and more important. 

While jumping the que because I can afford it would have been blasphemy in the past, certainly policy makers should be able to implement changes that put the health care consumer first. Surely this could be done with out sacrificing universality. 

Governments keep throwing money at the health care system - it is a giant black hole. Despite the expenditures consumers are still enduring long wait lists. Creating financial incentives for improving the quantity, quality or effectiveness of healthcare will make the system better and increase capacity

For example, how much of our laboratory services and diagnostic equipment lay idle outside of the normal work day. Could a government not enter into a private-public partnership which would allow a third party access to this equipment in the evenings. This would go along way towards alleviating backlogs and ensuring prompt treatment. 

Could private partners be approached to make investments in equipment and medical expertise to complement - not compete with the current public system. Health consumers would not pay extra - the partners would be paid directly by government. The health care consumer would see more efficient and timely results. 

I am certainly not wedded to alternative health care delivery but a discussion of alternative policies and program delivery mechanisms is certainly worthy of consideration. Canadians are having challenges  accessing hospital based services in an efficient manner. Rationalization has not been a financial or organizational success.

Yes, there are lots of political landmines in such an alternative delivery process, especially the ability to resolve human resource conflicts It would mean structural changes but the failure to address the existing bottlenecks in healthcare delivery might make for a more serious challenge to universality. 

Improving access to hospital and  reducing wait times for diagnostic tests are of the utmost importance to healthcare consumers who should not be forced to endure excruciating pain or be denied timely diagnosis because the system is inefficient.  
We need our leaders to be honest, open and innovative to protect our great system of universality in a way that improves accessibility, capacity and the cost of delivery while responding to consumers medical and social needs.
Of course, elections are no time to discuss policy.




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