In a recent article, a local surgeon, among other health professionals, shared his honest opinion of Quebec’s health care system: “The Quebec health care model is stuck in an endless dichotomy of popular belief: public is good, and private is satanic. The public model is now so unwieldy that to say it is accessible has become a bad joke.”
Sadly, this cannot be dismissed as mere exaggeration. A system in which over 1,000 patients a day leave emergency rooms untreated due to wait times is simply not accessible. With $47 billion spent on health and social services last year, is it too much to ask that the quality of care match the price tag?
Taken together, the medical staff testimonials in the aforementioned article paint a vivid picture of a system that is inefficient, stifled by bureaucracy and unionism, and frankly discouraging for the health professionals themselves.
However, there are some realistic and concrete reforms that would greatly improve the efficiency of the province’s public health care system and the quality of care received, without increasing the drain on taxpayer funds. These include more flexible decision-making and resource allocation; funding that follows the patient; expanded use of existing resources like nurses, pharmacists, and telemedicine; and a reduction in barriers to the entrepreneurial provision of new capacity.
Such reforms have already been adopted by other universal systems, to the great benefit of their patients. So, what are we waiting for?