Primary care is considered the front door to our health care system. Whether you’re going for a general check-up or have just been diagnosed with cancer, your family doctor makes sure you get the tests, treatment and care you need.
Our first point of contact with the health system — often referred to as ‘primary care’ — should result in prompt and efficient care for our general health concerns, and coordinate our journey through the system when we need more specialized care.
As the Canadian population continues to age, there is a need to revisit conventional thinking regarding the provision of health care services for seniors to ensure that the system is sustainable for all Canadians. There are a number of misperceptions in current thinking.
Imagine you’re a physician seeing a six month old child in clinic. She has a fever and cough, she’s working hard to breathe and her oxygen levels are falling. You know she needs assessment in the emergency room and requires transportation in an ambulance in case her condition worsens en route. Her family understands the urgency of the situation, but asks, “Could we take her there in our car?”
Canada is currently the only developed country with a universal health-care system that does not include universal coverage of prescription drugs. And paradoxically is the most expensive one.
For decades, health care researchers have been writing about the implications of the aging of the demographic bulge produced by the boom-bust sequence. Despite some scare mongering commentaries in the media, there won’t be a sudden, overwhelming impact on health care costs.
Since 2006, British Columbia has spent more than a billion dollars to improve primary health care. So have BC patients benefited from such a massive investment? Sadly, it appears not.