As America approaches another debate on health care reform, politicians and pressure groups will not doubt point to the Canadian system as a model for reform. In Canada, after all, everyone has access to health care. While that is true to some extent, it’s important to pay attention to the statistics.
For example, a report published by Quebec’s Health Minister, reveals that many patients spend almost 48 hours in an hospital emergency room waiting for treatment. Imagine coming into a hospital emergency room and waiting two full days before one is seen by a doctor. Most Americans would be apoplectic about such a delay.
No worries, however, because the minister promises that wait-times will improve. “My goal, he said, “is to eliminate (those long stays) one day. But for now, the goal is to reduce (stays of 48 hours or more) by 30 per cent in three years.” In other words, three years from now, a whole lot of people will still be waiting days to be seen by a doctor, just not as many as before.
While it is true that not every patient waits days to be seen in Quebec’s emergency rooms, statistics reveal that the average waiting time in Quebec hospitals was 17 hours, six minutes. Meanwhile, the average waiting time in an American hospital emergency room is just under one hour.
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