Canada mishandling mental illness crisis

Thousands of patients are on wait lists. Meanwhile, the human and economic costs of mental illness keep rising

Canada mishandling mental illness crisisFor the past decade, Bell Canada has used the month of January to support awareness of mental health issues. Its extensive media campaigns have encouraged Canadians to talk openly about mental health and break the uncomfortable stigma that still tends to hover over such conversations. There’s plenty of data to document the prevalence of Canada’s…

Turning data into health-care efficiencies

Turning data into health-care efficienciesWant to strike fear into the heart of any Canadian? Just mention wait times. We’re all really proud of our universal, single-payer medicare system, especially when we compare it to the situation in the United States. However, it’s not quite perfect. A major imperfection is the length of time between becoming aware of a need…

The grim reality of Canada’s medicare is in the details

Idyllic descriptions of medicare do not fairly represent the challenging realities that are the day-to-day experiences of many Canadians

The grim reality of Canada’s medicare is in the detailsAs the title suggests, The American Prospect article What Medicare for All Really Looks Like claims to describe the realities of Canadian medicare to our southern neighbours. So, it is both ironic – and disappointing – that a careful reading reveals it to be remarkable only in its unwillingness to examine these realities in any meaningful…

Rethink restrictions on private health insurance

Rethink restrictions on private health insuranceIn its sole reliance on government providing first-dollar coverage of medically necessary services, Canada’s health-care system is unique among high-income countries with universal health care. It also offers inferior service as a result. Virtually all high-income countries – including Australia, Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands – allow residents to use private insurance to pay for…

How to put Canadian health-care innovation into practice

It’s no easy feat in the often-intractable and rigid Canadian health system, but the payoff can be immense for patients and care providers

How to put Canadian health-care innovation into practiceBy Clare Liddy and Erin Keely University of Ottawa It all started when the two of us sat down over a cup of coffee. As a family physician and endocrinologist, we stand on opposite sides of a large chasm called patient wait times, and we both started seeing more and more of our patients swallowed…

When a new mom has disturbing thoughts about hurting her baby

Postpartum OCD is frequently misdiagnosed and misunderstood – but it is treatable, help is available

When a new mom has disturbing thoughts about hurting her babyBy Gina Wong Athabasca University and Nicole Letourneau University of Calgary In January of 2018, a new mother in California became part of a viral Facebook post that described her baby’s four-month postpartum checkup. As a result of the thoughts she shared with her health-care providers, the police were called and she was escorted to…

Prevention cuts demand on the health system

Increased spending has entrenched an inefficient system that has inflated the cost of getting the same outcomes. It’s time for change

Prevention cuts demand on the health systemCanada has doubled health care spending since 2005 – and what did we get? We certainly haven't improved access to care, nor improved health outcomes. Increased spending has, instead, entrenched an inefficiently organized system that has inflated the cost of getting, at best, the same access and outcomes. The alternative to spending to meet rising…

Patients deserve access to timely medical care

The B.C. government’s claim in the court challenge to medicare that waiting lists don’t harm patients is nothing short of ridiculous

Patients deserve access to timely medical careAfter years of political debate and public frustration, it seems the future of Canadian health care may now depend on the outcome of a decade-long legal battle that’s now in the hands of a B.C. Supreme Court justice. The plaintiffs are Dr. Brian Day, the private Cambie Surgery Centre and four British Columbians who have…

More isn’t always better when it comes to prescription medications

By thinking twice before prescribing and talking with patients about the risks of medications, clinicians are tackling overuse

More isn’t always better when it comes to prescription medicationsBy Karen Born and Wendy Levinson University of Toronto Canadians are living longer than ever and we are also taking more medications than ever. And this can make us sicker, not healthier. A report from the Canadian Institute for Health Information found that one in four seniors in Canada take 10 or more medications. That’s…

Medical errors too common but patients are paving the way for change

The Elizabeth Wettlaufer case should serve as a warning to all of us about the issue of patient safety

Medical errors too common but patients are paving the way for changeBy Fiona MacDonald University of the Fraser Valley and Karine Levasseur University of Manitoba We’ve all been there: it’s 3 a.m. and your partner, child, sibling or parent becomes ill suddenly and needs medical care. Will they be safe? The public inquiry into the safety and security of residents in the long-term care homes system…

Many Canadians pay a great deal for ‘free’ health care

The amount we pay for health care through the tax system depends on family income and size

Many Canadians pay a great deal for ‘free’ health careBy Milagros Palacios and Bacchus Barua The Fraser Institute The fall federal election showed that politicians across the spectrum are happy to promise to spend more on our government-run health-care system. Whether the spending is for long-term care or pharmacare, the political solution to any health-care problem seems to be to pump more money into…

More money won’t necessarily solve health care problems

Instead of asking for more money and all the strings that come attached, the provinces should ask for more freedom to try new delivery models

More money won’t necessarily solve health care problemsBy Bacchus Barua and Ben Eisen The Fraser Institute Despite their differences, it seems Canada’s premiers are united in one thing: demanding more federal health-care dollars. But nobody talked about the price the premiers must pay for the money from Ottawa: the freedom to design and implement policies that could actually improve care. At the…

When disasters strike, seniors need priority attention

The majority of deaths and injuries resulting from natural disasters involve seniors

When disasters strike, seniors need priority attentionBy John Hirdes and Sandy van Solm University of Waterloo The combination of an aging population with increases in natural disasters has had deadly consequences for seniors. Quebec health authorities estimated that as many 70 people died as a result of the 2018 heat wave with a humidex of over 40C. Most heat-related deaths in Montreal involved…

How do we decrease emergency room visits?

Canadians have the highest rates of emergency room visits among high-income countries. We need a better care model

How do we decrease emergency room visits?You get home after a long day at work and the cough that’s been bugging you just doesn’t seem to be letting up. Your muscles ache, you have chills and you hear a slight wheeze when you breathe out. Do you head to the local emergency department? A walk-in clinic? Or does your family doctor…

How healthy is our health-care system?

A recent report compares care across eight developed countries, including Canada. The results are edifying

How healthy is our health-care system?The Manhattan Institute – an American free-market think-tank – recently published a comparison of health care across eight developed countries. Looking at Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland and the United States, the analysis provides food for thought. Here are my takeaways. Role of government Governments in all eight countries are…
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