Maybe the system is sick

According to statistics published by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD),Canada's health care system employs 1.6 million people.

That's 8% of all jobs. It doesn't specify if that includes the private sector (dentists, physios, chiropractors, etc).

Also since 2010, Canada's population rose from 34 million to 38.2 million today, an increase of 12%. Over that same period, the number of physicians went from 77,500 to 106,000, an increase of 37%.

Among physicians, the category of "generalist medical practitioners" rose from 38,000 to 50,000, an increase of 33%.

In addition:

• The number of female physicians rose from 31,400 to 49,300, an increase of 57%.

• The number of nurses rose from 318,600 to 382,800, an increase of 20%.

• The number of personal care workers rose from 175,000 to 240,000, an increase of 37%.

• The number of CT scanners up 13%. Number of MRI machines up 35%. Number of mammography machines up 21%.

Granted, the average age went up two years over that same span, and older people consume more health care services, but, maybe, just maybe, it's not the number of healthcare workers that is the problem.

Why are wait times going up and service levels going down? Why are people dying in the ER waiting room? Perhaps it's the system that is sick. Are we getting full productivity out of those 1.6 million people? Not likely.

Sadly, instead of actually fixing the problems, the federal and provincial governments like to blame someone else for their incompetence. They love to fight amongst themselves over funding levels while the house of cards is falling down all around them.

(Meanwhile) the rest of us are paying a very high price, both literally and figuratively, for their ineptitude.

Lloyd Vinish, Kelowna

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