This blog is for those nice, though beguiled, folks who believe that the government can provide superior, or even comparable health care to our current system:
From Laura Donnelly’s article for London’s Daily Telegraph:
The number of children waiting more than six months for NHS dental treatment has risen by 52 per cent in three years, new figures show.
Labour said there had been a “completely unacceptable” deterioration in child dental care as it revealed the findings.
The statistics from Freedom of Information requests show that children are waiting an average of two weeks more for operations, compared with 2013.
In the worst performing trust, Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust, children waited an average of 253 days for treatment.
Overall, the findings show a 15 per cent increase over three years in the number of children on waiting lists for dental operations undertaken under general anaesthesia.
Last year children in England waited on average 85 days for treatment under general anaesthesia following a referral.
Lovely. What great news…if you happen to own a company that provides cavity-filling material or dental prosthetics.
And if this is how the UK health system treats its children, what about its adults – particularly it’s sickest ones? How long is the wait for significant, even life-saving surgeries? How many people die waiting for those surgeries? Maybe the next Freedom Of Information request will provide that sure-to-be-appalling news.
How many more stories like this do we have to see, before concluding that as, as problematic as our own health care system is, handing the reins over to government will make it worse?
But, you might point out, that’s the UK. OK, so things are not good there. But what about Canada? Isn’t that the criterion country for us? Isn’t the vaunted health care system of our neighbor up north wonderful?
From the most recent report issued by the Frasier Institute:
Waiting for treatment has become a defining characteristic of Canadian health care. In order to document the lengthy queues for visits to specialists and for diagnostic and surgical procedures in the country, the Fraser Institute has—for over two decades—surveyed specialist physicians across 12 specialties and 10 provinces.
This edition of Waiting Your Turn indicates that, overall, waiting times for medically necessary treatment have in-creased since last year. Specialist physicians surveyed report a median waiting time of 21.2 weeks between referral from a general practitioner and receipt of treatment—longer than the wait of 20.0 weeks reported in 2016. This year’s wait time—the longest ever recorded in this survey’s history—is 128% longer than in 1993, when it was just 9.3 weeks.
The total wait time that patients face can be examined in two consecutive segments.
- From referral by a general practitioner to consultation with a specialist. The waiting time in this segment increased from 9.4 weeks in 2016 to 10.2 weeks this year. This wait time is 177% longer than in 1993, when it was 3.7 weeks. The shortest waits for specialist consultations are in Ontario (6.7 weeks) while the longest occur in New Brunswick (26.6 weeks).
- From the consultation with a specialist to the point at which the patient receives treatment. The waiting time in this segment increased from 10.6 weeks in 2016 to 10.9 weeks this year. This wait time is 95% longer than in 1993 when it was 5.6 weeks, and more than three weeks longer than what physicians consider to be clinically “reasonable” (7.2 weeks). The shortest specialist-to-treatment waits are found in Ontario (8.6 weeks), while the longest are in Manitoba (16.3 weeks).
Do the math, folks. 10.2 weeks to see the specialist, then another 10.9 weeks for treatment. That means, on average, a Canadian citizen who needs medical treatment will wait over 21 weeks.
That is five months.
Lots of luck with your heart condition, Ms. Johnson. Hope your liver cancer doesn’t spread too fast, Mr. Jones.
The bottom line is that there is a quantum difference between wishing that government-run health care (or, for that matter, government-run anything) will improve its quality, and what actually happens.
Do you really want Washington D.C. in charge of the when and how of your health care?
Tell you what: if your answer is still “yes”, then I suggest a trip to the nearest VA hospital.