People who can freely access healthcare services typically live longer lives than those who can’t, according to studies. Unfortunately, Canada’s healthcare service has been described as ‘crumbling’ by The Globe and Mail due to a variety of factors. 20,000 additional cancer-related deaths are expected as a result of healthcare delays, while a lack of family doctors is putting the nation at risk. Here’s how Canadians are getting on with accessing crucial healthcare and what’s being done to tackle the crisis.
55% of 18 to 79-year-olds in Canada take at least one prescription medication. But the cost of medication continues to rise and this has left 44% of Canadians saying they’re concerned about being able to afford their medication. 23% have even said they’ve purposely not fulfilled a prescription due to the cost. There are so many risks associated with not taking essential medication, including illnesses worsening, secondary conditions arising, hospitalization, and death. Lower drug prices in Canada have been promised for the past five years but, sadly, it hasn’t happened yet. A review is expected on July 1, 2022, which is sure to please the 57% of Canadians that strongly support universal access to prescriptions.
Costly dental care
Around 35% of Canadians don’t have dental insurance. The most common reason why Canadians don’t have it is the cost. As a result of this lack of care, they don’t visit the dentist regularly and dental problems are common. 10% even admit to living with dental pain. There have been calls for public dental care plans to be made available and the Liberals have said a denticare program for low-income families will be launched in the future. However, it’s crucial that expert, affordable dental services can be accessed by all Canadians as and when they need them. Emergency issues, such as a chipped tooth or persistent pain should be treated straight away by a dentist. Whereas, routine check-ups prevent problems like gum disease from occurring.
The Canadian Medical Protective Association (CMPA) reports that more than one million surgeries are typically performed each year in Canada. But, since 2020, this has dropped by more than 50% per year. Studies have found that there are many risks connected to delayed surgery. These include infections, higher costs, pulmonary embolisms, and death. It can also have a big impact on people’s mental health. Research from last year found that almost three-quarters of Canadian cancer patients felt their mental and emotional well-being had been impacted by delayed surgery. The government has recently pledged $2 billion to help tackle healthcare-related backlogs and delayed surgeries, so efforts are being made to improve healthcare provisions. $4 billion of funding was provided last year to tackle these issues, but it wasn’t deemed to be enough after a tricky winter.
Like many countries, Canada’s healthcare system is under significant stress right now. But it’s important that Canadians don’t forget how crucial it is to look after their health, regularly see healthcare professionals, and take the medication they require.
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