Saturday, October 31, 2009

In Which I Rant About The Canadian Health Care System

Yes, I do realize that H1N1 is a current priority in our hospitals.

Yes, I do realize that our user costs are unusually low compared to other countries.

And yes, I do realize that we are fortunate to have a universal health care system.

Nevertheless, I curse the stagnant state of affairs in the province that I live in. We moved to this city 2.5 years ago and have yet to find a family doctor taking new patients. So now we confine our medical experiences to public clinics, which are fine in themselves but don't take the place of a doctor who knows me or my kids, or who takes a genuine interest in us beyond the problem that brought us to the clinic in the first place. Plus, they prefer to address acute issues, not the day to day grind of checkups and things like that. And now, at a time when one of us actually needs a doctor, we've been referred to someone who might not have an appointment for 8 weeks. Eight weeks! I've lost my sense of humour about this. What the heck is the good of a health care system when we don't get access TO the bloody care we need in the first place?

If I were a vindictive person I'd curse our current Minister of Health, his political cronies (none of whom likely have to face waiting lists when they get ill, I'm sure), the Ministers who went before him (and contributed to the budget cuts that reduced our system to the shambles it is), and everyone else who's made this system the interminable waiting hell it is. Shame on you all.

I'd welcome the chance to pay more if it meant getting care that happened in the same calendar year as the injury, I really would. And I bet most Canadians who have had to face serious medical issues (and have been confronted with these shocking wait lists) would agree with me. So what if our health care system is the envy of the world - from where I stand today, watching one of my kids having to wait - I don't see anything enviable about it.

Nothing at all.


Rebecca said...

Do you want me to ask my doctor if she's taking new patients... or if she'd consider it? (She's a homeschooling mom -- bonus!)

I'm really annoyed about the H1N1 vaccine being so slow. Just when I decided to take the plunge (or the jab), I find out there isn't anywhere to plunge! Gah!

sheila said...

Is she near me, Rebecca? I'd love it if you could, although Richard came back from the ER with yet ANOTHER list of doctors supposedly accepting new patients. But if you think she's a good doctor, I'd love it if you could ask her. This has all been terribly frustrating for me.

Rebecca said...

She's super close to you. Blocks away.

However, also follow up with Richard's list just in case she's not taking anyone. We were referred to her from a doctor friend of hers in Calgary (back in 2002) and we may have been just super lucky.

I will ask her when I see her next (but not sure when that will be).

sheila said...

Awesome, thanks.

Samantha said...

Oh Sheila, I hope your find a doctor to see your family soon. The shortage of family doctors (not to mention GOOD family doctors) is a real issue that I've seen so many have to deal with, and it's not right. You seem to have to watch the papers and the day someone is accepting new patients, jump on it, which doesn't mean you are going to find someone who meshes with you and your family. Hopefully Rebecca's doc will take you on - I'm crossing my fingers for you!