Putting Canadian patients first

Canada has a health care system where everything revolves around the system. When Medicare was introduced it was supposed to be a floor, meaning no one would suffer because they didn't have access to necessary healthcare. What it has evolved into is a ceiling where no one is allowed better health care than what the government will give them, says Dr. Brian Day, an orthopaedic surgeon and ex-president of the Canadian Medical Association.

Instead, patients need to be put at the centre of this universe and everything else should revolve around them. According to Day, under a system of patient-centred care:

  • The patient would, first of all, be looked at as the consumer of healthcare; when you go to any institution, you need to be looked upon as a valued asset, and that's what is missing from the way patients are treated now.
  • The patient would be seen quickly, diagnosed quickly and treated quickly.
  • Hospitals would switch from block-funding to money-follows-the-patient funding; thus, creating competition between private and public companies and competition between the different public hospitals.

    Moreover, a patient-centred care system might help keep the 1,500 young Canadians who are forced to leave the country to go to medical school in the country. There are only between 7 and 8 medical school entry spots for every 100,000 Canadians.

    Further, when we call for a patient-centred system, we are really calling for a system that exposes itself to more market influences. It empowers the patient, empowers the public and will move Canada forward, says Day.

    Source: Putting Patients First, excerpts Dr. Brian Day's speech given at the Fraser Institute's Behind the Spin speaker series (Vancouver, BC, September 2008), Fraser Forum, October 2008.

    For text: http://www.fraserinstitute.org/Commerce.Web/product_files/PuttingPatientsFirst.pdf

    For more on Health Issues: http://www.ncpa.org/sub/dpd/index.php?Article_Category=16

    FMF Policy Bulletin/ 18 November 2008
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