Friday ‘Asclepius’ Café
Don’t miss this week’s ‘Asclepius’ Café
Well, we’ve finally cleared the Friday Café of the last remaining zombie ducks. It wasn’t easy so the very least we should do is relax over a virtual drink and a casual chat.
This week, in honor of Asclepius, let’s talk about the quality of the medical treatment that you and I receive. (I know: From ducks to roosters. Where will it all end?)
My Muse for creating the healthcare topic is a doctor who writes about healthcare for the New Yorker magazine. Atul Gawande recently wrote an insightful article about how healthcare could be refashioned to make people healthier.
Dr Gawande’s ideas prompted me to think about the quality of my healthcare, and how it compares to the healthcare of people in other places. And what better place to find out than at the Friday Café, where patrons come from a variety of countries, with a different kinds of healthcare systems.
So this week: Are you satisfied with the healthcare you receive? (how well your doctor takes care of you, how the treatment is paid for, how long you must wait for specialized treatment and so on.)
Here in Alberta, government-run healthcare used to be excellent. But I fear those days are over as the bills mount and the quality declines. 46-cents out of every dollar earned by the province was spent on healthcare last year. Though today’s system seems efficient in providing critically ill patients the treatment they need, it’s a shambles for people with less serious illnesses. Here’s one example: I know people who must wait in pain for more than a year to get a hip replacement. I know another who jumped the queue because he knew people with connections.
Another concern is creeping privatization which is gaining a larger foothold. There’s also a shortage of family doctors, so I and many others go to walk-in clinics. That usually means a different doctor sees you each time and is unfamiliar with you. It’s a serious concern. As Gawande writes:
Studies have established that having a regular source of medical care, from a doctor who knows you, has a powerful effect on your willingness to seek care for severe symptoms. This alone appears to be a significant contributor to lower death rates.
So, that’s a brief description of what it’s like here, What do you think of healthcare where you live? Please post, and while you’re at it, order a virtual drink. (But as doctors advise—drink in moderation.)