Canadian healthcare not among the world’s best

Dear editor,

It is with great frustration I write this open letter to Marcus Powlowski and Greg Rickford who both have been involved in health care backgrounds and have intimate knowledge of our emergency long wait times and doctor shortage in our district.

Previous letters via Constituency Office or email go into the proverbial black hole.  Did they get them? Did their assistances discard them or does it have to be presented in the form of a petition similar to what the Eye Doctors have presented to them, with many signatures?  

I am hearing of so many long wait times at our local Emergency. Six to ten hours are not unheard of. One young lady, I understand, after waiting 10 hours as the waiting room was filling to overflowing, (to follow the Covid-19 protocol), was asked to wait in her car until she was called. Another 3 hours! I know of several Fort Frances residents that do not have a doctor, after a long wait, the next will be their 4th in 10 years. Is that our new normal?

Who would be in a better position than the two Honourable Members mention above to help with this decaying system? According to the U.S. based Commonwealth Fund, a respected monitor of International Health Systems showed in a 2016 survey, Canada performed below average in providing timely access care compared to most of the 28 rich countries. In fact it was rated the worst of those countries in providing same-day or next day appointments, waiting on emergency departments, or waiting for elective surgery. In after-hours care without resorting to an ER, it was the second to worst.

And as a Snowbird, I was always so smug among my American cohorts, bragging about our wonderful universal health care system, yet they viewed my optimism and boasting as all wrong with my apparent ignorance of those who have it much better. In reality, we ranked really badly at 26 out of 28 and 28th being the worst as reported by Milan Korcok, a medical writer for the CSA News.

According an article Korcok wrote in the fall 2021 CSA News, Canada spends $265 Billion or 11.5% of our Gross Domestic Product on health care system. That is $7,064 for every resident in the country.  Despite this in a grading of 28 countries and 28 being the worst, Canada’s 26th worst for our number of Doctors (2.8 per 1000 people). We should have 22 for our town of Fort Frances, not counting the district! 22 out of 26 for availability of MRI (10.5 per million people) and 21 out of 27 worst countries for CT scanners.  Data from OECD and Fraser Institute 2020.

The Canadian Snowbird Association this past summer, has won a court case against Doug Ford who decided that our portable OHIP could not be used once we left the county, although we continue to pay in taxes for what skimpy benefits it provides outside Canada. I’m quite sure the other provinces would have follow suit had the Snowbirds lost the case. Apparently, Ford’s goal was to reign in health cost; however, if forward-thinking he would or should realize that the thousands upon thousands of Ontarians that could get sick in the USA or other countries, being mostly older persons, would take a bit of the strain off our moribund health system here. Possibly do a Kepner-Tregoe analysis between Fort Frances and International Falls and Rainy River and Baudette, but do we need more studies to find and keep Doctors in our district? How can we fix this? I would expect the two honorable members mentioned above could have answers and the ear of their bosses in our government to make changes.  There should be some urgency here to make things better for our district.

William Morrison

P.S. We recently had an appointment at the emergency, and received excellent care. This letter doesn’t reflect on the people working in our hospital