Media Releases

Personal bankruptcy, psychological stress and deteriorating health: A short MEI documentary shows the harmful effects of health care waiting lists

Montreal, Thursday, October 30, 2014 – While more and more resources are devoted to the health care system all across Canada, and while Health Minister Gaétan Barrette is pushing for the adoption of a major reform of the way the Quebec system is organized, waiting lists remain a persistent problem that seriously undermines the quality of life of patients. As part of its health care research program, the MEI has produced a short documentary to shine some light on this situation.

The short documentary gives a voice to patients suffering from the harmful effects of waiting lists. “It’s sad to see the deteriorating health or the impoverishment of patients and their families because of the often very long delays they have to endure,” observes Jasmin Guénette, Vice President of the MEI and content producer for the video.

In Canada, even though real public health expenditures have increased by 71% over the past 20 years, median wait times for an operation have grown 95% longer over the same period. “Despite the constantly increasing financial resources allocated to the health care system, people are not being treated more quickly—quite the opposite, in fact. As explained by one of the women I interviewed for this video, people have the impression of being held hostage by the system,” says Mr. Guénette.

Watching the short documentary, one can feel the great distress of patients who often have no idea when they will be able to obtain the treatments they need. “Yet we could do better. Other industrialized countries have universal health care systems that are much more efficient. What makes them more efficient is the room they make for entrepreneurship, market mechanisms and patient freedom of choice,” concludes Jasmin Guénette.

Produced by the MEI in the fall of 2014, this short documentary is entitled “The Harmful Effects of Waiting Lists for Patients” and can be viewed on our website.

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The Montreal Economic Institute is an independent, non-partisan, not-for-profit research and educational organization. Through its studies and its conferences, the MEI stimulates debate on public policies in Quebec and across Canada by proposing wealth-creating reforms based on market mechanisms.

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Interview requests: Mariam Diaby, Communications Director, Montreal Economic Institute / Tel.: 514-273-0969 ext. 2231 / Cell.: 514-668-3063 / Email: mdiaby@iedm.org

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