Ten point plan for shorter wait times
StraightGoods.ca – Ten point plan for shorter wait times: Planning, not privatization, the key to proper patient care.
Dateline: Monday, January 26, 2009. by National Union of Public and General Employees
Shorter wait times will improve our health as individuals and will also improve the health of Medicare itself. A return to short wait times will restore confidence in the system overall and stimulate constructive reform and improvement of our Medicare. It will drive positive change and spur innovation within the system.
Top priority: short wait times
We’re proposing a 10-point plan for action:
Step 1: More health professionals
A principal cause of long wait times in our public health care system is plain enough: a shortage of health professionals. Our demand for health care services keeps increasing. But our health professional workforce is static or shrinking. We simply need to train, recruit and retain more health professionals. This leaflet highlights some important steps Canada can and must take to build an adequate supply of health professionals.
Step 2: Create a national home care program
Increased home care services can help ease the wait time problem for people needing an acute hospital bed. For some patients, being provided home care will mean that a hospital bed is made available for someone who needs it.
Medicare must be expanded to cover all home care treatments and services.
Step 3: Create a national pharmacare program
Publicly funded and accountable, a national pharmacare program would go a long way towards improving our medicare system.
Such a program would ensure equal access to prescription drugs for all
Step 4: Better nursing home care for the elderly
Long-Term Care must be integrated into the Canada Health Act to ensure it is a medically necessary service available to every citizen, regardless of income.
This is an essential step in the evolution of Canada’s public Medicare system.
Step 5: More public investment in dental care and oral health promotion
Good oral health is a critical factor in good overall health. But, our health care system doesn’t consider our mouths as part of a healthy body. And yet there is a great deal of medical evidence showing that good oral health is a vital component of disease prevention and overall health promotion. It’s time for the federal government to take leadership on oral healthcare.
Step 6: A national mental health strategy
Canada’s mental health system must be brought into the mainstream of Medicare to provide better care for millions of Canadians and to help shorten the waiting time for care.
Inadequate access to mental health services means that more people must rely on emergency rooms and hospitals, often when another form of intervention would be better.
Step 7: Accurate information and evidence to make better decisions
When it comes to our health we need all of the professionals in the field to have the most complete and accurate information available to them. Electronic records would improve care, save lives, reduce hospital wait times and in the long run save money too.
Step 8: Primary care reform and expansion
Your health needs are varied and a multi-faceted approach is best. The current system is organized as a series of individual service outlets operating independently of one another. We need to take these individual pieces of the system and organize them together.
Step 9: Greater focus on prevention, promotion and public health initiatives
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. For some reason, this wisdom has not been applied to our health care system. Far too many patients in hospitals or waiting in a doctor’s office are there with what are preventable illnesses.
Preventative measures will never remove the need for a more traditional health care system. Improving the overall health of Canadians through prevention, education and public health promotion will reduce the stress that currently exists.
Step 10: Better chronic disease management
Far too many people with chronic diseases end up in emergency rooms when other medical services would have better treated the problem. The good news is that there are ways to improve the situation — ways to deliver better health care while shortening the wait.
By improving and expanding the existing public Medicare system, people with chronic diseases will be better served — as will everyone else.
[Editor’s note: Pamphlets are available or coming soon on each of these subjects. To obtain pamphlets, please visit the URL below. ]
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is a family of 11 component unions. Taken together we are one of the largest unions in Canada. Most of our 340,000 members work to deliver public services of every kind to the citizens of their home provinces. We also have a large and growing number of members who work for private businesses.