08 Sep 2014 Great Moments In Single-Payer Health Care
1. Will It Be A Best Seller? Angela Johnson, president of Medical Confidence, Inc., has just released a new book entitled “Step by Step Guide to Navigating your way through Canada’s Health Care System and Minimizing Your Wait Time.” The press release states that the book is “a first of its kind and must read for Canadians, providing them with 14 valuable tips to overcome these issues and minimize their wait times.” I wonder if the book instructs patients to go to this website for British Columbia that enables people to see wait times for surgery by clicking on a body part?
2. The Psychiatrist Will Not See You Soon. In Canada’s capital, Ottawa, “1,195 children and youth are waiting for mental health outpatient and outreach services at CHEO and the Royal, up 10 per cent from 1,082 a year ago,” according to an article in the Ottawa Citizen. The wait time for mental health treatment could be up to a year. Young people are recommended to plan their bouts of depression in advance.
3. A Cancerous System. Britain’s National Health Service (NHS) recommends that no cancer patient should wait more than 62 days to start treatment. Yet the Daily Mail reports just over 9,900 British cancer patients waited longer than that in the first six months of 2014. It would be interesting to know just where the NHS came up with the 62 day standard, because the longer one waits for treatment, the odds increase that the cancer will recur. According to an article in the journal Radiotherapy and Oncology, for breat cancer there is an “increase in the risk of recurrence of 1.0% per month of delay” and for head and neck cancer there is an “increase in the risk of recurrence of 3.7% per month of delay” (p. 12).
4. Records Are Made To Be Broken! The Daily Mail reported last month that the “number of patients languishing on NHS waiting lists for operations is at its highest for six years…There are 3.2 million people awaiting surgery – a rise of 700,000 compared with 2010.” Not only are there 3.2 million people on the wait list for surgery, 809,000 patients were waiting for a diagnostic test and 15,600 operations were cancelled at the last minute in the second quarter of 2014. To top it off, these numbers may be an undercount due to errors and incomplete records.