What will the new health funding deal, reportedly reached between Ottawa and the country’s provincial premiers, actually mean for health care?
It’s hard to say.
More money is always welcome, but a lot of our problems are ones that can’t be solved by an immediate infusion of cash.
Not enough doctors, nurses, mental health workers, and care aids?
More money might help, but it won’t immediately cause thousands of new health professionals to pop into existence. Training doctors and nurses is a years-long process.
More interesting is that the money can help shore up and reinforce reforms that are slowly working their way through the system already.
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Premier David Eby and Health Minister Adrian Dix have announced changes in the last few months, including a new payment model for family doctors, and promises to revamp the system that accredits foreign-trained doctors and gets them working here, are likely to have a more immediate impact.
Of course, more money may help ensure those programs succeed.
Canadians find themselves moving between two poles when it comes to our public health system.
We’re proud that it’s free and accessible, sometimes to the point of being smug about it, especially with Americans.
We’re also sometimes very disappointed in its lapses, especially long ER wait times, crowded hospitals, and the lack of family doctors.
During the last decade, public opinion has swung from the first pole to the second more and more.
Yet we still value the system, we still want it to remain public, free, accessible to all. That sense that equality of health care is important is part of why we’re so upset when the system breaks down.
Hopefully, we can start healing the system now.