Thursday, October 20, 2005

Dead Meat

Browsing the blogs while on call tonight, and came across an interesting post at small dead animals (a Canadian blogger). The post delineates ongoing problems with the Canadian health care system --- remember, that's the one that Teddy Kennedy and Howie Dean think we should have. The post points readers towards a recently published Fraser Institute study entitled "Waiting Your Turn: Hospital Waiting Lists in Canada, 15th Edition, " which reveals that although small improvements have been made,

Total waiting time between referral from a general practitioner and treatment, averaged across all 12 specialties and 10 provinces surveyed, fell from 17.9 weeks in 2004 back to the 17.7 weeks last seen in 2003. This small nationwide improvement in access reflects waiting time decreases in 5 provinces, while concealing increases in waiting time in Manitoba, Ontario, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland.

Among the provinces, Ontario achieved the shortest total wait in 2005, 16.3 weeks, with Manitoba (16.6 weeks), and Alberta (16.8 weeks) next shortest. Saskatchewan, despite a dramatic 7.8 week reduction in the total wait time, exhibited the longest total wait, 25.5 weeks; the next longest waits were found in New Brunswick (24.5 Weeks) and Newfoundland (22.3 weeks).
A companion news release is here.

Reading through the small dead animal comments, I found a reference to a new short film entitled Dead Meat, a critical look at the Canadian system which is worth viewing (high speed connection a must). After watching the film, it's worth asking if we really want to emulate a system that even the Canadian Supreme Court has ruled causes delays resulting in morbidity and mortality? Or the slightly better British system? One of the most absurd things I found in the film was the fact that purchasing health insurance for animals is quite legal (and they get prompt treatment), but purchasing private health insurance is illegal in Canada. I suspect this film won't make the short list for the Oscars or the Sundance film festival (they are much more interested in whatever Michael Moore has to say), but I hope it gets reasonable exposure in the US.

Update -- a reference to this film was also posted at Symtym.