I promise but.....
Last month, the Quebec Ministry of Health made money available to open additional operating rooms. This is truly needed but it highlights the reality of what is happening — we do not have a Ministry of Health, we have Ministry of Health Budget Management.
Don‘t get me wrong, health care is a huge expense as it is currently being handled and if we don’t get control of the expense we won‘t be able to afford it. I get that. But let‘s be honest about what the Ministry is and what it is actually doing.
Having acknowledged that, I believe that this is exactly the wrong approach and the reason that we are in the financial fix we are in. Even worse, this approach only frustrates people.
I would suggest that we do health care from the perspective of “health” and “care.” Start with a disease and create a patient path from prevention to screening, diagnosis and care. Do that for the diseases having the greatest impact on people for which we already have the information we need. So, for example, I would deal with lung, breast, colon and prostate cancer because prevention, screening and early treatment work.
Do not create an expensive task force or demand a government investigation. Do make it the responsibility of one of our health ministry technocrats and obligate them to get input from patients, their care givers and health care providers.
Best practices do already exist. We don‘t need to reinvent the wheel. Give the technocrat a very specific time frame within which to complete their work. A couple of months at most.
Within the mandate of any one majority government we could make important inroads and make the health care system more efficient and better at taking care of our population.
And isn‘t that what this whole effort is supposed to be about?
Happy New Year!
Dr. Mitch Shulman is an Assistant Professor, Dept. of Surgery, McGill Medical School and an Attending Physician, Emergency Department, McGill University Health Centre. He’s also the CJAD AM 800 Medical Consultant.