As I sat waiting for my bagel and cream cheese in Williams Coffee Pub,on Saturday morning, I found myself inadvertently drifting into my role as honorary medical consultant to the London (Ontario) Pen Club. It's a role I quite enjoy, because like Marcus Welby, I have a manageable patient population to look after, (about a dozen) unlike the days when I actually had to make a living practicing medicine. Although few of the members of our club are actually as mature as myself, most of them are old enough to have an impressive list of maladies that they appreciate discussing with an old-fashioned curmudgeon of an ex-physician. Since this is once again my vocation, as once it was and not the way I make a living, I am free to express my convictions and views, without deference to the political correctness, that has distorted medical practice beyond recognition, as it does in so many other walks of life. Today's topic was triggered by the story a friend told me regarding the distress his son was suffering as a result of knee pain that is increasingly disabling him. He is an otherwise healthy guy who has been told he will need knee surgery but not yet. As working becomes a growing problem he wonders if he is going to be suffering for another couple of years before he goes back to the Orthopedic specialist to be put on the list to wait an additional couple of years before his knee is replaced.
It is difficult to comment, because of insufficient information, but the above expectation is realistic if patient does or shortly will need surgery. If it was me and my job depended on it, I would seek a second consultation outside of the public system. I'd probably go to the Cambie Clinic in Vancouver.
The most recent damage to health care occurred in the Province of British Columbia, which is proposing to enforce prohibitions against private medical care, despite a long running constitutional challenge to the legal claim. The provincial government is planning to close down all private clinics while the B.C. Supreme Court hearing is still proceeding. This would close down approximately sixty clinics and close down the service to tens of thousands of patients per year. The sort of private care that the government is prohibiting is already legally available to some, such as RCMP members, tourists, Workers Compensation cases and Federal prisoners. The lawyer for the Clinics pointed out that adult patients are often waiting weeks and months beyond the maximal acceptable waiting time.
"We say it is a punitive action taken by the government for no health care reason but to inflict harm on the private clinics during the course of this trial into the constitutionality on the prohibitions to access to private health care," he added.
Simply put this is applying punitive measures to the administration of health care for purely political reasons.
The Cambie Surgery Centre was opened in 1996 by a group of nationally and internationally renowned doctors and independent investors. Dr.Brian Day, its founder is a British- trained Orthopedic Surgeon, who wanted to build a facility where top notch surgeons could perform surgery on their patients in an environment that offered the latest technology in a setting that emphasized exceptional patient care. The clinic does indeed have an exceptional reputation and attracts patients from around the world. The Worker's Compensation Board was one of the first supporters of the Clinic, because patients were treated within weeks instead of the unreasonably lengthy waits of the public system. This saved time, suffering and money by reducing recovery time and disability. The CSC is one of the most technologically advanced surgical centres in Canada and has more operating theatre capacity than most hospitals in Canada.
Unfortunately, much of the Canadian public fails to realize just how rapidly our heath care system is failing. Thriving private clinics emphasize the gross mismanagement of health care by the government and its armies of well paid, well pensioned administridiots.
No wonder they want to shut it down!