One report was published by the Fraser Institute, the other by the Wait Times Alliance, and both outlined a rather dire situation for people awaiting referral to a medical specialist for treatment, delays that haven’t lessened despite injections of cash from whatever level of government. Global News aired the first report and followed up with a personal account in an on-line piece posted here (video also available).
The sum of the two reports is that we’re trying to achieve different results by applying the same processes and thinking, a mode almost universally acknowledged to produce little other than frustration. The underlying message, the same delivered several times in word and deed by Dr. Brian Day, is that we should carve out a rôle for the private practice of medicine in order to reduce wait times.
Certainly wait times might shrink for those who could afford to jump to the private side of the medical equation, but it would certainly torpedo any notion of universality and would, above all, line the pockets of some physicians and the investors who would expect to reap a benefit from the work of some and the misery of others. Piling on another ten per cent for investor profit seems a strange way to get out of the cash crunch unless the intent is to eliminate access for some clients while expediting the draining of the bank accounts of others.
There is an interesting benchmark that the two studies seem to have set for purposes of comparison: the baseline year being 1993. For those with short memories, this is the period immediately preceding Paul Martin’s book-balancing feats, accomplished largely at the expense of transfer payments, and specifically the unravelling of the universal health care system. My mother had a hip replacement in 1994 and my father had bypass surgery the same year. I don’t think either of them had time to get a referral before the surgeries were done to remedy the condition; in neither case did even a week lapse before the intervention took place.
These two reports smack of yet another stab at introducing the same chaotic and dysfunctional system of medical delivery that we see in the U.S., and what the reports scream at high intensity is that greed is the primary motivator of both these organizations.