Apparently, my family doctor sees 6.1306 patients per day, if she takes no sick days or vacations, and if her patients see her no more than twice in a year. That’s with a patient roster of 800, which is what she informed us is the case.
She is leaving the practice, unhappy with it, to move into emergency care, which leaves approximately 700 persons without a family physician (since cancer and other special needs patients were somehow placed). This number is added to the countless others in our region who are without holistic, preventative care, in a country that constantly brags about its universal health care system.
The doctor shortage is serious and severe. It means relying on walk-in clinics and emergency departments. It means wasting the time of the caregivers in those places since your whole health history has to be related in order to get personal treatment, as opposed to a family doctor who knows you and your history. It means waiting, lots of waiting, and so encourages a tendency to only seek urgent care. It means taking a boat-load of responsibility onto yourself, especially in terms of monitoring medications and treatments, which many patients are simply not equipped to do.
Canada, you can stop bragging now. Sure, we can still lord our “free” health care over our southern neighbours, but the system is broken. It’s broken when thousands (tens of thousands? millions?) of mostly rural residents of all ages have no one to tend to their health needs and crises. It’s broken when it renders the entire system less efficient and more expensive.
I’ve written to local and federal representatives and received canned replies. I tossed and turned this morning composing scathing followup emails. Any suggestions, anyone?
Let’s never take our doctors and nurses for granted!
And let’s hope they have a sense of humour, since they are the topic of the following collection of some of my favourite cartoons relating to the prompt, “doctor”.
Peace, love, and good health,