The Canadian healthcare system is life-supporting

Canadian hospitals are in crisis. Across the country, emergency departments (EDs) are becoming overwhelmed, their beds are full, and patients are dying. Last fall, Angus Reid vote It found that 29 percent of adults reported “chronic difficulty” in obtaining health care. In Ontario, Canada’s largest province, a recent survey by Environics showed just that 80 percent of respondents believe that the health care system in the county is in crisis.

Throughout the country’s healthcare system, COVID-19, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and flu The patients are exhausted short staff equipmentIncluding Children’s hospitals. While much news coverage has suggested the system’s inability to adapt is a problem for many patients in the wake of the COVID buildup, it is, in fact, a recurring problem. A review of the past few decades shows that the country’s emergency departments have this problem — too many patients, too few beds — about every five years.

The problem is not the number of patients. The problem is that decades of austerity measures have left the system obsolete.

Hospitals across Canada had to Air transport patientsAnd close Emergency departmentsExtension Family medical clinic hoursand subjecting patients to long and dangerous waiting periods. In Quebec, the average wait time for an ED in the province, according to reports available from Canadian Institute of Health Information (CIHI) stands at 4.9 hours. In Montreal, a mother made headlines for waiting 90 minutes for her infant son to be treated when he fell in respiratory distress. Emergency departments are so overwhelmed that the county government has set up a A new applicationGuichet d’accès à la première ligne, to direct people to family physicians to relieve pressure on urgent care. Soon the app was flooded with tens of thousands of calls.

In Ontario, after years of Close the bedAverage ED wait times, according to the CIHI, are 3.3 hours. But some hospitals have extended waiting times up to forty hours. Ambulance discharge times It also increased – in some cases, up to 151 minutes.

According to the CIHI, Manitoba has the longest average wait times in Canada at five hours. At Concordia Hospital in Winnipeg, a couple waited six hours in an ambulance bay, dealing with cold temperatures and ambulance exhaust, until Treating pneumonia. In Saskatchewan, last month, Chiefs of Saskatchewan Paramedic Services Tell CTV News, “People were crashing in the back hall, we had to wait 45 minutes, hours to get on that bed. Some people just went into cardiac arrest.”

In Alberta, during the worst fall flu season, wait times, according to the CIHI, averaged 3.1 hours but were long. Seventeen hours in children’s hospitals. “We’ve killed people who sat in the waiting room and died in the waiting room,” said Dr. Warren Thirsk Tell CTV News Edmonton. “We witness countless hours of suffering just from uncontrollable pain, from the anxiety of knowing something is wrong with you and not taking care of it.”

In New Brunswick, according to CBC NewsPatients like eighty-eight-year-old Karen Totten have been made to wait for care outside the hospital in the supply locker. “When you’re deaf and blind and can’t walk, you need better care than that,” her daughter said.

The original purpose of emergency departments, such as the Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians (CAEP) Notes, to assess and manage patients over the course of two to three hours. But, as the Aviation Environmental Protection Committee noted, ED congestion and lack of access “are not a new problem.”

Indeed, over the past four decades, the problem has resurfaced with the news addresses such as “Emergency Suite on the Lawn Approved” in 1987, “ER Crowding Getting Wealth” in 1999, and “ER Overcrowding Delays” in 2004.

Since Medicare is offered across Canada, trivial or “common complaints”,Elderly patients who have nowhere else to go“,” Driving under the influence of alcohol“common sense” deficits caused by eggnog, bad parenting, and The opioid crisisAnd fluAnd H1N1And SARSand more was blamed for “overcrowding”.

During this period, the media, government officials, and think tanks proposed a wide range of “remedies” to cut waiting times. Yet all of these suggestions are austerity-stricken solutions for the less versatile.

In 1977, a report to the Metro Toronto Hospital Association suggested closing emergency departments at night and during “off-peak” hours to save beds during peak hours. In 1989, the Ontario Emergency Health Program proposed that hospitals throughout Ottawa provide “Bed managementIn order to “liberate the family more quickly.” In the 1990s, Quebec‘s “Tactical Intervention Group“to act as a kind of”Emergency room policeTo punish hospitals that allowed patients to occupy beds for more than forty-eight hours.

Recently, the Ontario Liberals have been bragging about owning it “Minimum” program spending per capita From any Canadian province, submit a Pay for results program, which connects ED funding to waiting time reductions. Ontario has also joined other counties to helpPassenger coachhospitals for accreditation Systematic management protocols Faster Sanitation in the same way Toyota speeds up factory floors. this means tracking with nurses stopwatchesEndless Searches for “savingsIn filming, auditions, “uniform” recruitment, and the like.

Last year, as COVID-19 cases fell, the call to resolve the crisis in the health system prompted a new round of attacks calls to Privatization and outsourcing procedures. But every decade, Canada’s healthcare system is forced to revise its operational standards because more sick and injured outpace its resources. Overcrowded hospitals are wrong.

As CAEP notice In 2002: “Overcrowding in the emergency department is primarily the result of a shortage of inpatient beds. . . . When a hospital has sufficient inpatient capacity to immediately meet the needs of infected or critically ill patients, overcrowding does not occur in the emergency department.” Furthermore, the current crisis, allegedly as a result of cases of RSV and COVID-19, is not a crisis Elective” or out-of-hospital care. These are acute and critical care patients – the primary responsibility and largest line item in Health Canada’s budget.

like Toronto star He notes that the current crisis is mapping out accurate cuts in health resources. Canada had 1,233 hospitals in 1952, five years earlier Hospital Diagnostic and Insurance Services ActWith a capacity of 146,032 beds.

The Health Care Act of 1966 saw a rapid expansion of Canada’s health capacity, particularly in the area of ​​building hospital and hospital beds, based on a 50/50 cost sharing between the federal and provincial governments. However, by 1970 the Federal Liberals were looking to make budget cuts. Government 1970 Economic Council I suggested Sizes “to discourage the use of medical services” even if it means “deterrent fees. In 1977, the 50/50 cost-sharing program came along quiet end Transmissions eroded over the ensuing decades. This accelerated in the 1990s, as the Liberal Party ran out of seats harsher austerity programs In the industrial world Cut off transfer payments to the governorates nearly 50 percent.

The result of these reductions is obvious. By 2015, Canada had 719 hospitals with 93,595 beds, down 514 from 1952. The country Population In 1952 it was 14.5 million. In 2015, it was 35.7 million. Whatever the capacity increase since 2015, it has clearly not been enough. the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Statistics For 2020, the most recent year available, Canada was found to have 702 hospitals and only 96,849 beds. data from CIHI It shows that the total number of beds increased by 20 percent from 76,250 in 2019-2020 to 91,511 in 2020-2021, but this is still less than the numbers seen in past decades.

The current shortage comes amid upcoming negotiations health agreement between the federal government and the provinces. As the federal government has a larger tax base, the same prime ministers who are so eager to cut and privatize the health system are now pushing for more funding. This does not mean, however, that priorities will change. As Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Tell CBC News, “There’s no point in putting more money into a broken system.”

While Canada’s universal health care system is described as Canada’s “dearest institution” and a national treasureCanada’s business owners and their politicians always anxious To restrict, cut and undermine them. Trudeau Liberals and Canada’s various right-wing prime ministers are just the latest iteration. This, after all, is the playbook for privatization advocates everywhere: starve the common good, wait for it to crash, then claim that a free market is needed to fix the problem.

While much about health care is complex, the current crisis is not. After decades of cuts, Canada’s public health care resources are insufficient to meet the needs of ordinary people. while the Crises and ills It can be a complex and multifaceted matter driving people to emergency departments, and these departments are stressed due to lack of funding and lack of resources. Halting the erosion of the health system and resolving the crisis in the country’s hospitals will require resources for healthcare workers, services, and patients.

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