Aim Higher for Health: Let’s fix health care now
Millions of Canadian seniors rely on healthcare to meet our everyday needs and address unforeseen challenges. But is Canadian healthcare providing what it could and should?
The pandemic showed us that Canada’s healthcare system is deficient and inadequate. As a result, our country paid a heavy price, particularly older Canadians, many of whom lost their lives or saw their health deteriorate.
And we continue to pay this price, as hospitals, political leaders and administrators struggle to catch up with hundreds of thousands of postponed surgeries, tests, and procedures, including for lethal diseases such as cancer.
COVID-19 was an unprecedented situation, but it did not cause our health care crisis. It exacerbated it and reinforced necessity of a strong healthcare system and high-quality long-term care.
Canadian healthcare has needed fixing for a long time. Compared to other Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries, Canada has consistently ranked near the bottom when it comes to many key areas of the health system. Even when the pandemic ends, Canadians are at risk unless we aim higher for a better, faster, and more efficient healthcare.
New and Innovative Medicines: In Canada, we wait an average of three and a half years from the first global launch before new medicines are approved for public funding. Compare that to about 1 year in Germany, or less than 6 months in the USA.
Doctors: Canada fares poorly in terms of number of doctors per capita, ranking 28th out of 30 comparable countries. We need more physicians in this country in all regions – rural and remote.
Hospital Beds Per Capita: Canada is severely lagging in number of hospital beds per capita, ranking 23rd out of 28 comparable countries. It is time for Canada’s leaders to step up and plan, implement and maintain the number of hospital bed we need today and the number we will need as our population ages rapidly in the coming years.
Canadians want these issues resolved now. Our population is aging dramatically, and our need for quality healthcare will only increase.
History demonstrates that major disasters can help inspire and drive change. In fact, we can look to our own country: during the pandemic, Canada sped up its processes for COVID vaccines and treatments and was a world leader in approving them and getting them to citizens in record time while using innovative ways to do so.
We have learned that when necessary, we can change our systems to make them more efficient. We now have an opportunity to make the investments and embrace new technologies required to build the system Canadians want, need, and deserve.
We all pay for Canada’s underperforming health care system. Shouldn’t we demand better?
Nearly half of Canadians provide unpaid care in their lifetime.
CARP is deeply concerned about that the way the Canadian health system currently places an undue burden on the shoulders of unpaid caregivers. Much can and should be done to mitigate this burden.
CARP is advocating for systemic changes and individual supports to unpaid caregivers, that would allow Canadians to age at home for as long as possible, without increased burden to unpaid caregivers.
In the wake of COVID-19, the federal government has stated that home and community care are a priority. However, home and community care services are underdeveloped, poorly funded, and difficult to access, and gross inequities exist in available services across the country.
96 per cent of CARP’s members would prefer to age in place. But the reality is that right now Canada cannot meet that demand. A better funded and functioning home and community care system would enable Canadians to age at home with dignity and alleviate pressure on the long-term care system.
CARP is calling for a major “culture change” which would bring meaningful change to our most vulnerable citizens.
The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed multiple long-standing problems with Canada’s health care system and created new ones, such as a backlog that will take years to clear, leaving our already under-resourced health care system playing an endless game of catch up. Canada needs to boost investments in provincial health systems to clear these backlogs and build back better.
CARP helps advocate with respect to many health care concerns. Follow each link below to find out what we are advocating for with respect to these individual health concerns.