Top 10 health care issues in Canada

The health care issues in Canada, call for serious concern since health care is one of the pillars of development in every nation.

When Canada is compared with other highly industrialized countries, it devotes a high percentage of its gross domestic product to its health sector.

Canada’s healthcare system is a point of Canadian pride. We hold it up as a defining national characteristic and an example of what makes us different from Americans.

Introduction to healthcare issues in Canada

In Canada, a historical debate has taken place about the healthcare system’s sustainability; since the beginning, this debate has mostly been public and has become intertwined with opposing ideological positions on how the system should be financed.

Canada’s healthcare system has gained great support in the country, but at the same time has faced many healthcare challenges. However, in this article, we discuss the health care issues in Canada currently.

There is no doubt that Canada is highly regarded, although Canada’s healthcare system is expensive and faces several challenges.

Health care issues in Canada

  • High cost of health care services
  • Chronic/communicable diseases
  • Aging population
  • Longer wait time
  • Geographical disparity
  • Lack of pharmacare/medicare drug plan
  • Access to a personal doctor
  • Shortage of medical technology
  • Lack of access to new drugs
  • Health policies and ethics

High cost of healthcare services is a challenge in the Canadian healthcare

Over the past 10 years, total annual healthcare spending in Canada has increased by more than $10 billion. It reached $172 billion in 2008, or $5,170 per person, outpacing inflation and population growth annually. Canada’s universal health care system is perceived as threatened by rising costs.

This popular and successful program has largely kept costs under control while maintaining quality and ensuring equity.

However, its success demonstrates the limits of medical care; remaining health problems are less amenable to improvement by merely improving access to traditional services. A widening view of health implies a larger health role in other policy arenas, and a larger group of legitimate participants; coordinating an evolving and expanding system becomes increasingly difficult.

The Canadian government has expressed concern over funding increases allocated to healthcare that have failed to result in a measurable improvement in health status.

As a consequence of this concern, across federal and provincial jurisdictions, we’ve seen growing interest in performance accountability not just in healthcare but across the public sector as a whole.

Chronic/communicable diseases fall among the health care issues in Canada

Medical care offered in homes can be more efficient and comfortable than hospital visits. Today, however, the healthcare landscape is increasingly one of the chronic diseases. Diabetes, dementia, heart failure, chronic lung disease, and other chronic conditions characterize the health-care profiles of many Canadian seniors.

Hospitals are still needed, to be sure but increasingly, the population needs community-based solutions.

Another major challenge for Canadian health care is the narrow scope of services covered by provincial insurance plans.

In the same vein, communicable diseases pose a great threat to the health care system in Canada.

Communicable as well as contagious disease is a disease transmitted from person to person(s), or from animal to person and is also considered as one of the common health issues in the present world community.

These diseases are classified considering some factors like the caustic agent, mode of transmission, the duration of infestation, and others.

Aging population among the health care issues in Canada

As one advances in age, the tendencies of deteriorated health become pronounced because of the decreased immune system.

health care issues in Canada

We can foresee that healthcare sector expenses as a percentage of GDP will continue to increase for the next few decades. This is because the Canadian population is aging, and changes in public policies will be needed as a result.

This aging trend is due to decreasing fertility rates and increasing life expectancy. In 1971, only 8 percent of the population was made up of people over 65; this figure increased to 14 percent in 2011, and it is still expected to increase up to 36 percent by 2036.

The employer-employee contributions rate increased from 3.6 percent in 1986 to 9.9 percent in 2003.

In 2011, people over 65 accounted for 14 percent of the population, but they were assigned around 44 percent of annual healthcare expenditures, both federal and provincial.

Federal and provincial government expenditures together have grown faster than the economy, increasing from 5 percent of GDP in 1975 to 7 percent in 2010.

Longer wait time among the health issues in Canada

There is a great dissatisfaction over the wait times which has been recurrent during the last decade.

In 2006, Dr Brian Day was quoted in a New York Times article, saying, “This is a country where dogs can access a hip replacement in one week, but humans must wait between two and three years” (Krauss, 2006).

In April 2007, former Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced that the provinces and territories would have their wait times guaranteed by 2010 for some areas, which would be prioritized by the provinces.

For the last few years, provincial Ministries of Health have published the wait times for receiving care in emergency rooms and by specialists on their website.

For instance, Ontario’s Ministry of Health offers web surfers a list of wait times for emergency rooms, surgeries, magnetic resonance imaging, and computing tomography.

In two and a half years, wait times had remained almost the same, but they were still high. Moreover, they continue to be higher than the projected target.

Likewise, according to 2013 data from the Commonwealth Fund International Health Policy Survey, Canada had the longest wait times for seeing a family doctor of the 11 developed countries in the OECD: Australia, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Geographical disparity as among the health care issues in Canada

Though Canadians have fewer financial barriers to access to care, this does not guarantee equality in actual usage.

Aboriginal peoples in Canada, those in isolated areas, and the poor receive less adequate or appropriate care than the less isolated and those higher in SES, but nevertheless, health care is more equally provided and accessible than in the United States, and more equitably provided than before Medicare.

In Canada, the implicit rationing is due to constraints on available personnel and equipment; in the United States, it is rationing by income

Lack of pharmacare/medicare drug plan among the health care issues in Canada

Canadians have long been proud of their universal health insurance system, which publicly funds the cost of physician visits and hospitalizations at the point of care.

Canadians have long been proud of their universal health insurance system, “Canadian Medicare” as it is affectionately known.

This system of public health insurance, coordinated between the provinces and the federal government through the Canada Health Act, keeps Canadians comforted in the knowledge that medically necessary physician visits, diagnostic tests, and hospitalizations will be “taken care of” as a matter of course regardless of their age, income, or province of residence.

Access to a personal doctor

Easy and timely access to health care services is important for the health of Canadians.

Difficulty accessing services could result in: delays seeking and obtaining treatment, underuse or a lack of awareness of preventive health care or services, increased risk of complications if a diagnosis is delayed, increased financial burden on the health care system.

Shortage of medical technology among the health care issues in Canada

Canada is facing a serious health human resource (HHR) shortage of medical laboratory professionals, specifically medical laboratory technologists (MLTs).

In 2010, the Canadian Institute for Health Information identified that approximately half of all MLTs would be eligible to retire within 10 years, with the greatest impact felt in Canada’s rural and remote communities.

This period of time has closed in on the professional community across all provinces and territories, resulting in a dramatic impact on organizations and employees.

Lack of access to new drugs

Canadians have long been proud of their universal health insurance system, which publicly funds the cost of physician visits and hospitalizations at the point of care.

Prescription drugs however have been subject to a patchwork of public and private coverage, which is frequently inefficient and creates access barriers to necessary medicine for many Canadians.

Health policies and ethics are among the health care issues in Canada

Canadian health policy is increasingly failing patients and taxpayers.

Canadians spend a lot on healthcare relative to comparable countries, yet the high relative level of spending does not buy Canadians as many healthcare resources as patients in other countries enjoy.

Shortages of medical resources, as well as improper economic incentives within the Canadian health system, have resulted in growing waits for access to publicly funded, medically necessary goods and services.

This has resulted in health care consuming ever greater shares of the revenue available to governments, leaving proportionally less available for other public responsibilities and obligations.

Economic research and international experience suggest that economically liberal policy alternatives could dramatically improve the financial sustainability and the value of money spent in the Canadian health system.

Considering the health care issue in Canada measures have been taken by the Canadian government to alleviate these issues and make their citizens cruise in ideal health.

Conclusion on the Top 10 health care issues in Canada

As earlier stated, the Canadian healthcare system is among their top priorities. It operates a Universal, cheap, and accessible, Canadians have shown that their health care is on par with the nations around the world to truly take care of their own.

Furthermore, not considering these problems faced by the health care system in Canada, they implore different ways to make sure they remain on the edge of success above these challenges.

A good healthcare system is everyone’s desire that’s why every nation strives to uphold an effective and efficient healthcare system

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