The concept of cradle-to-grave health care for all, which has been a hallmark of our society for decades, is under pressure. Spiralling costs are causing many to question the very feasibility of publicly-funded health care.
Against this backdrop, a report was released this week that showed wait times for certain kinds of surgery had come down over the past year. Great news, but I wanted to illustrate that a one-time improvement does not mean we can pack up our vigilance and head home. The system's still in crisis. People are still dying. We're a long way from fixed. Here's my column from today's paper:
More effort needed to reduce wait timesYour turn: Has your life - or that of a close relative or friend - been touched by a delay like this? I hope you'll share your story here.
Published Saturday, May 20, 2006
The London Free Press
If you get sick in and around London, you got some good news this week: wait times for some procedures have come down since last year.
The danger in reports such as this lies in our assumption that the battle has been won - it hasn’t.
Health-care wait times are still too high, and for some life-threatening illnesses like cancer, they’re still on the rise.
We’ve used up plenty of ink in recent years discussing the challenges of our health-care system. Doubtless, if our local doctors, nurses and other health care professionals could deliver immediate service to everyone who needs it, they would. But that's a pipe dream.
I hope our provincial government realizes that these results are incredibly personal. Delays add additional stresses to patients and their families. Not only do they have to deal with often-ominous diagnoses, but now they’re forced to wait and worry that they’ll get sicker in the interim.
Sadly, some will die. And despite this week’s good news, we’re not done. Governmental budget bosses need to continue to improve their prioritization efforts.