“We will reduce waiting times,” Harper said. “We will hold (provincial) governments accountable.”
If patients can’t get speedy treatment in their own provinces, he said, they should have the option of going to another.
And he promised to work with the provinces to help universities turn out more doctors and nurses.
“We are going to do what it takes to protect the public health-care system,” he said. “There will be no private, parallel system.”
Let's brainstorm on this.
1. This sounds good on the surface. Every province would pitch in and there would be benchmarks for wait times set by healthcare professionals.
2.It could give a built-in incentive to provinces to reduce wait times so as to avoid the costs (I assume the province would bear) of sending the patient to another province for the procedure or tests they are waiting for.
1. Does a Kamloops, BC woman needing a hip replacement want to go to say, Calgary or Montreal for the procedure, depending on where the bureaucracy determines it can get done on time? Does she then get sent to say, Sudbury or Yellowknife for the timely physio needed afterward? Is that such a good option when her family and support network remains back home?
2. What if our patient is a unilingual francophone from Jonquiere, Quebec and she can only get the procedure and/or physio in Vancouver where she can't get french health service?
3. For this to work, Harper would have to go through the thorny problem of getting all provinces on board (think Meech Lake), and given Scenario #2 above, Quebec would have a lot of concerns.
4. It seems to me a new bureaucracy would need to be created (see Scenario #1 above) handling travel and shelter arrangements with various provinces, and determining: a) if the patient truly needs to go out of province for timely care; b) which hospital in which province can and will provide it; c) following-up to ensure the care was received in the correct timeframe (would be necessary to track this for each and every medical procedure carried out in the entire country, it seems to me); which leads to d) a mechanism for resolving disputes over the timeframe and quality of the care received.
5. What kind of wrench does all this throw into Equalization payments?
If I'm in the press pool, I'm asking all those questions.
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