Chronic pain sufferers feel the pain in Medicine Hat

Government decisions serve to remind us how arbitrary and unfair Canada’s publicly-funded, health-care monopoly, i.e., Medicare, can be.

In a December 9, 2017, letter-to-the-editor published in the Edmonton Journal, P.J. Kehoe questioned “why isn’t infertility treatment granted equal [public] backing as are, say, abortion pills.”

In Medicine Hat, a city of 62,200 in southeastern Alberta near the Saskatchewan border, “the hospital pain clinic has a wait time of 18-24 months for new patients, a recent AHS [Alberta Health Services] letter to doctors states,” the Medicine Hat News reported November 21, 2017.

Imagine suffering daily from chronic pain with its physical debilitation and mental toll! Somehow, having a family physician consult with a pain clinic specialist “[i]f the patient’s condition changes dramatically” does not translate into timely access to quality care.

Personally, a week before Halloween I fell down 13 steps and “monster mashed” the wrist on my dominant hand. Then, for another six days, I suffered for 24-hours-a-day while awaiting surgery to remove three bones and insert a metal plate. I simply cannot comprehend the despair of waiting weeks, months and up to two years.

If we had patient choice, I would have gladly paid a few thousand dollars to rent one of the operating rooms that are empty and inoperable [pun intended] overnight because of government rationing.

It’s not surprising that the Fraser Institute just reported the longest ever wait times that it has ever recorded with “a median waiting time of 21.2 weeks between referral from a general practitioner and receipt of treatment” – 128% longer than in 1993 when it was just 9.3 weeks.

  • BC, 26.6 weeks; AB, 26.5; SK, 19.8; MB, 24.9; ON, 15.4; QC; 20.6; NB, 41.7; NS, 37.7; PE, 32.4; NL, 21.5; CAN, 21.2.

Patient choice for treatment here in Canada is long overdue for Canadians who cannot afford to leave the country in order to receive timely access to quality care. Moreover, Canadians should be able to buy health-care insurance for this coverage.

 

 

 

 

 

Canada’s government-run health care system – Medicare -- is a monopoly that prohibits private hospital and private physician care. Medicare is a subpar performer, ranking 10th among 11 advanced countries. Canadians deserve much better! Patients deserve timely access to quality care and choice of hospitals and physicians. Taxpayers deserve much more value for their tax dollars.

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