• It’s time for a data-driven approach to health care

    … the Big Three – hospitals, physicians and drugs – gobble up more than 60 per cent of total spending, and they have since we started compiling national health data in Canada in 1975. That is a sharp reminder that, despite all the talk about the importance of community care and the need for care to be delivered by multidisciplinary teams, we have a hospital-centric, physician-driven health system.

  • Reopening old hospitals is the wrong remedy

    Was this an inevitable failure? No. Was the direction of expanding community care wrong? No. More care at home and in the community, was, and still is, the right direction. This failure is overwhelmingly a failure of delivery. At almost every point the political will was too weak, the sense of urgency almost completely lacking and the clarity of leadership muffled in rhetoric and lost in endless process.

  • Bernie Sanders lauds Canadian health-care system in Toronto speech

    “if you want to expand and protect health care or education, there are people out there in every country in the world who think it is more important to give tax breaks to the richest people … what we need to do is take those oligarchs on.” … What went mostly unsaid during Mr. Sanders’s speech is that while Canada’s health-care system can look great compared with that of the United States, it can still fare poorly next to comparable countries.

  • Bernie Sanders brings Canadian doctors into U.S. health-care debate

    … U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders emailed a group of Canadian doctors with questions about Canada’s health-care system. He wanted to know what it was like to be a doctor that didn’t ask their patients for money at the end of an appointment… what it was like for a patient to not worry about insurance. Sanders team… made videos of doctors answering these questions for a social media campaign advocating for a single-payer health-care system in the U.S., similar to Canada’s.

  • Is Canadian health care choosing wisely?

    The Canadian Institute for Health Information estimates that 30 per cent of health care, or nearly 1 million tests and treatments annually, is unnecessary… Choosing Wisely hopes to achieve its goals through grassroots advocacy by publishing a series of practice recommendations for physicians based on international peer-reviewed research… In the past, the medical community has experienced the perils of ignoring large segments of the population in its research initiatives.

  • Stop using mental illness to explain away violence. It’s not that simple

    First of all, a “psychological issue” is not the same as a diagnosed mental illness; nor does a history of psychological/psychiatric illness predispose a person to violence. Expecting psychiatrists or other health professionals to single out people who have the potential to be terrorists and/or mass murderers is preposterous. Health professionals already have the ethical/legal responsibility to identify people who are an imminent risk to harm themselves or others, but broader, predictive profiling would be a dubious exercise at best.

  • Students are not fragile flowers – we must care about their mental health

    The Canadian Mental Health Association ‘s #b4stage4 campaign asks a thought-provoking question: What if we waited until Stage 4 to treat cancer? … We would never allow our medical system to wait that long to treat this disease. We fully expect to have preventive education, screening and early treatment. Now, imagine if the standard of treatment was equal for mental and physical health conditions.

  • It’s time for a smarter approach to drugs

    The harm-reduction approach cannot fully succeed until we stop treating people addicted to drugs as criminals… The war on drugs has driven up the cost of policing, contributed to a national crisis of court delays, compounded racial and class inequities and unnecessarily criminalized people living with physical and mental illness. All that, without delivering any of the promised benefits for public health or public safety.

  • Doctors deserve a better deal, not tax dodges

    … physicians (like lawyers) can access tens of thousands of dollars in RRSP tax shelters beyond the reach of most workers. The lack of physician pensions is a choice they made collectively a half-century ago, when they adamantly refused to be deemed government employees despite earning virtually all their income from public funds in a now archaic fee-for-service model. That income anachronism is debilitating for all sides — patients, doctors and the government.

  • Three Ontario nursing homes ordered to stop new admissions because of substandard care

    Proper staffing of Ontario long-term care homes in general has long been a complaint among workers, families and the residents who suffer from lack of care… the government introduced legislation that, if passed, would create tougher enforcement against nursing homes. The legislation would include hefty fines for corporations, ranging from $200,000 for first time offence and $500,000 for subsequent offences.