Monday, June 13, 2005

Does Gord Hume have to wait in line too?

Population of the City of London Ontario: approximately 351,267. Number of emergency wards: 2.

London's newest emergency department opened yesterday with more capacity, more nurses, better equipment and an old problem.

Though the new facility at Victoria Hospital on Commissioners Road boasts numerous improvements over the South Street emergency that closed yesterday, it won't solve the problem of long waits for hospital beds, said Dr. Gary Joubert, city-wide head of hospital emergency departments.

"Unfortunately, we continue to be 100 beds short in the system," Joubert said.

In March, emergency department patients at South Street had to wait on stretchers as long as three days before they were given a hospital bed in London.

A few people waited 80 hours and some patients became so frustrated they gave up and walked out.
It didn't work in Russia either:
In 1918, the Soviet Union's universal "cradle-to-grave" health-care coverage, to be accomplished through the complete socialization of medicine, was introduced by the Communist government of Vladimir Lenin. "Right to health" was introduced as one of the "constitutional rights" of Soviet citizens. Other socioeconomic "rights" on the "mass-enticing" socialist menu included the right to vacation, free dental care, housing, and a clean and safe environment. As in other fields, the provision of health care was planned and delivered through a special ministry. The Ministry of Health, through its regional Directorates of Health, would pool and distribute centrally provided resources for delivery of medical and sanitary services to the entire population.

The "official" vision of socialists was clean, clear, and simple: all needed care would be provided on an equal basis to the entire population by the state-owned and state-managed health industry. The entire cost of medical services was socialized through the central budget. The advantages of this system were proclaimed to be that a fully socialized health-care system eliminates "waste" that stems to "unnecessary duplication and parallelism" (i.e., competition) while providing full coverage of all health-care problems from birth until death.

[..] In contrast to the impression created by the liberal American media, health-care institutions in Russia were at least fifty years behind the average U.S. level. Moreover, the filth, odors, cats roaming the halls, and absence of soap and cleaning supplies added to an overall impression of hopelessness and frustration which paralyzed the system.

[..] Supplies are painstakingly scarce-surgeries at a major trauma-emergency center in Moscow that we observed had no oxygen supply for an entire floor of operating rooms. Monitoring equipment consisted of a manual blood pressure cuff, no airway, and no central monitoring of the heart rate. Intravenous tubing was in such poor condition that it had clearly been reused many times. The surgeon's gloves were also reused and were so stretched that they slid partially off during the surgery. Needles for suturing were so dull that it was difficult to penetrate the skin. All of this took place in 95 degree F temperature with unscreened windows open; though the hospital was built less than twenty years ago, there was no air conditioning.

[..] The chief reason for the dire state of the Russian health-care system is the incentive structure based on the absence of property rights. The current lack of goods and education within health care has caused Russians to look to the United States for assistance and guidance. In 1991 Yeltsin signed into law a Proposal for Insurance Medicine. The intent is to privatize the health-care system in the long run and decentralize medical control. "The private ownership of hospitals and other units is seen as a critical determining factor of the new system of 'insurance' medicine." It is moving to the direction the United States is leaving-less government control over health care. While national licensing and accreditation within health-care professions and institutions are still lacking in Russia, they are needed for self-governance as opposed to central government control.
Even the Russians are starting to figure it out, while Canadians continue to resist as more and more money flows from their pockets and the waiting lines grow longer and longer.


Pietr said...

The British socialists had an even better idea.
The rich,sixpence a throw doctors were taken on by the state,and the idea was that as general health improved,the health service would become cheaper and cheaper to run until it finally disappeared up its own arse.
They're still doing it.
'Make Poverty History' anyone?

Kyla said...

They pretend there's not a 2 tier system. Ford Motor Company in Talbotville has a privately funded and staffed medical service.

Rich Canadians pick up the phone and call the Mayo Clinic or other prestigious medical center in the USA and make an appointment at their leisure. They are usually recovered from the needed procedure before a regular Canadian can get a confirmation of an appointment.

When a hockey player needs an MRI of the knee, magically they get it immediately (same with work permits).

Five years ago, I was offered an insurance plan called "First in Line." If I'm put on a waiting list longer than 90 days for anything, the insurance pays for me to be shipped to the USA and get immediate treatment. I recommend it.

MapMaster said...

Just goes to show you how government restrictions often end up hurting the least wealthy and resourceful among us -- supposedly the very people those government programs are supposed to assist.