Healthcare needs a course correction that only Ottawa can deliver: Kevin Smith
2019-11-29 from theglobeandmail.com
Kevin Smith is president and CEO of the University Health Network
Now that the election dust has settled and the new minority government is finding its way, a priority must be a frank conversation about preserving and protecting what defines our country: universal health care. While much divides our country, one thing unites us: compassionate, safe and high-quality care for all Canadians. Without definitive action, it’s never been at greater risk.
The challenges we face have an extensive history – those privileged to provide care have long sounded the foghorn. But never before has there been such a perfect storm. We are seeing the ill-timed collision of several factors: a growing and aging population, clinician burnout, mental health and addiction issues, high occupancy rates of hospitals, crumbling infrastructure, funding that doesn’t keep pace with inflation, an increasing need to help vulnerable patients, and rising expectations about the use of technology from patients and providers.
Many have spent entire careers working to improve the system through efficiency and redesign – and many including myself will continue to do so – but without increasing capacity in our health and social-services systems, we will not enjoy the kind of care and innovation Canadians deserve and have paid for.
At University Health Network, we are proud to offer world-class care, research and education. For the first time in my career, though, I feel that I am failing those we serve and those who serve. I am consistently forced to admit that we can’t ensure they have access to the appropriate environments to care for patients, or protect their ability to undertake research in service of improving societal health, or provide the resources they need to educate the care providers of tomorrow, all while adequately supporting their personal and psychological well-being, which is in rapid decline.
Read more here