Since the inception of the system that we loosely call the Canadian Health Care System, in 1959 the federal and provincial dialogue has been a succession of squabbles over funding. What was intended as a 50:50 cost sharing has grown far beyond that in scope and complexity.
So here we are, once again, with more federal/provincial discussion with the predictable scenario: national consensus “the system is in crisis” with a federal response of “let’s pour more money on this troubled sector.”
Then in the public discourse in social media, conventional media, and advocacy publication, the public is, once again, treated to the usual arguments: use the money to hire more doctors and nurses, use the money to build more nursing homes, give employees a respectable income that is attractive.
Paula Doucet, the leader of the New Brunswick Nurses Union, and a strong advocate for the profession, lamented, once again, the slow pace of essential change in health care in a letter to the editor on Saturday, January 28, 2023 in Brunswick News. And the general public would tend to agree with the sentiment that change has been slow to discern.
There apparently is, however, a good deal of activity in the background in which some new clinic models are being created, strategies are apparently in place to reduce surgical wait times, and more, according to the Trustees of Vitalite and Horizon.
The challenge for the Higgs government, and those he has placed his trust in for reform, is that having promised reform, on many essential issues, it often means catching up to what others are already doing in other provinces and countries. Roy Romanow, in the report of the Romanow Commission on Canadian Health Care in 2002, had already discovered the superb quality of primary health care offered at the Sault Ste Marie Clinic in which physicians, nurses, nurse practitioners, social workers and many other professionals work together to manage the health care of a defined population group. He called it “Canada’s Best Kept Secret”.
Ken McGeorge, BS,DHA,CHE is a career health care executive based in Fredericton, NB, Canada.