How do we address Canada’s scarcity of doctors?

Greater use could be made of nurse practitioners and physician assistants, including for relatively uncomplicated medical procedures

How do we address Canada’s scarcity of doctors?While health care is a dynamic service characterized by the continual introduction of new drugs and medical devices, physicians remain at the centre of health-care delivery. So it’s worth noting that Canada lags well behind almost all developed countries in the availability of physician services. Canada ranks 29th out of 33 high-income countries for the number…

Canada’s health-care wait times hit new record high

Although we know that universal systems elsewhere deliver more timely access at similar or lower costs, we still pursue wrong-headed policies

Canada’s health-care wait times hit new record highCanada’s national shame is at a record high, with no cure in sight. In 2016, we hit the 20-week mark for the average wait time for treatment by a specialist (across 12 medical specialities) after referral from a general practitioner. Twenty weeks is a far cry from the 9.3-week wait measured by the Fraser Institute’s…

Looking beyond our borders for health-care cures

Compared to other countries, Canada has a high-cost system that delivers mediocre, and sometimes remarkably poor, performance

Looking beyond our borders for health-care curesAs patients, caregivers and taxpayers, all Canadians care deeply about our health-care system. It’s important to us that the system has the necessary resources, is accessible, and delivers high-quality treatment at an affordable and sustainable cost. Unfortunately, it’s increasingly clear that we have a high-cost system that delivers mediocre, and sometimes remarkably poor, performance. That's…

How Alberta can deal with the ‘silver tsunami’ health-care crisis

If the NDP is going to lose the next election, the government should just fall on its sword and introduce a sales tax

How Alberta can deal with the ‘silver tsunami’ health-care crisisAs a baby boomer, I’m very concerned about my future dignity in Alberta. For the past two months, my 85-year-old mother-in-law, who suffers from dementia, has lived in Foothills Hospital because there are no long-term care facilities that can accept her. Her days (and nights) are spent locked in a chair because she wanders and…

There is nothing to fear from private health care

In fact, removing prohibitions would better utilize our health care professionals and reduce the suffering of those on long waiting lists

There is nothing to fear from private health careIn a recent multi-part series that included an opinion piece headlined “Double-dipping doctors defy the spirit of Canadian health-care,” the Globe and Mail alleged that physicians working in private medical clinics are billing both the public system and the patient for the same service. Shortly after, Federal Health Minister Jane Philpott and B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix announced an…

The hidden, and high, cost of “free” health care in Canada

We have one of the most expensive health-care systems in the world, yet other countries with universal health care routinely outperform us

The hidden, and high, cost of “free” health care in CanadaIt seems like a simple question: how much do you pay for public health care? And yet it’s one that most Canadians would struggle to answer. Many would say “it’s free.” Others may point to health-care premiums in provinces that charge them. And those more familiar with the statistics may cite the amount Canada spends…

Health system’s tragic neglect of seniors’ oral health

The tragic consequences will continue until health ministries' introduce meaningful policy to eliminate gaps in this essential element of personal care

Health system’s tragic neglect of seniors’ oral healthSome years ago, a retired university professor visited my dentistry practice. He was fit and had a pleasant smile. He hadn’t seen a dentist in more than five years, partly because he had lost his private health benefits when he retired, so it wasn’t surprising that he needed dental care. He had most of his…

Why so many Canadians seek out-of-country health care

Lack of available resources or procedures at home, desire to access more advanced technologies and to avoid Canada’s long wait times are chief among the reasons

Why so many Canadians seek out-of-country health careIf our public health-care system is so enviable, as its supporters claim, why do so many Canadians seek treatment abroad every year? In 2016, an estimated 63,459 Canadians received non-emergency medical treatment outside Canada. The estimate is based on data gathered through the Fraser Institute’s Waiting Your Turn survey of physicians, and from the Canadian…

Private health care isn’t the problem, it’s part of the solution

While some patients may be able to wait for treatment without suffering adverse consequences, many others may be in pain, unable to work or live full lives

Private health care isn’t the problem, it’s part of the solutionRecent news reports about private payments for medically-necessary procedures in British Columbia tell an important story about a group of desperate people who are being oppressed by those in power. But based on headlines castigating “double-dipping” doctors conducting “illegal” activities, one might mistakenly think that physicians are the antagonists in the story. The real oppressor,…

Health-care wait times cost patients millions in time, wages

The consistent lengthening of wait times for treatment makes us sometimes forget our system forces people to suffer while waiting for timely access to care

Health-care wait times cost patients millions in time, wagesFor more than two decades, the Fraser Institute has annually surveyed specialist physicians across Canada to estimate how long patients wait for treatment. The latest results are distressing. Our survey found that in 2016, overall, patients waited 20 weeks from referral from a family doctor to treatment – the longest wait in our survey’s history and 115 per…