- We love to brag about how much better it is than the American system, yet
- We also love to complain about the long wait times and the imminent bankruptcy of the system.
Lately, it’s been more complaining than bragging.
- We blame the nurses’ union for being greedy.
- We blame the hospital bureaucrats for their big salaries and “obvious” incompetence.
- We blame illegal immigrants and the poor for clogging up the emergency room instead of going to their GP.
We blame. We blame. We blame.
Problem is….we should be blaming ourselves.
According to the Conference Board of Canada, the real problem with the Canadian healthcare system isn’t the system…it’s the Canadian public and their lazy lifestyle that is ruining the healthcare system.
The Conference Board of Canada takes an annual look at 17 industrialized nations and compares them using 11 different markers of health.
- In the 1990s, Canada was ranked 4th.
- Today, Canada has fallen to 10th.
According to the research, while top-ranking countries like Japan, Switzerland & Norway have invested in programs designed to promote a healthy lifestyle, thereby lowering the economic impact of chronic diseases like diabetes, cancer, depression, dementia, osteoarthritis, and heart disease, Canada has virtually ignored health promotion.
And according to the Conference Board of Canada, “most top-performing countries have achieved better health outcomes through actions on the broader determinants of health such as environmental stewardship and health-promotion programs focusing on changes in lifestyle, including smoking cessation, increased activity, healthier diets, and safer driving habits.
Leading countries also focus on other determinants of health—such as education, early childhood development, income, and social status—to improve health outcomes”.
It’s a novel concept…spend a small amount of money preventing disease instead of spending a large amount of money treating disease.
The cynic in me believes that nobody is going to pay attention to this report and that the status quo will rule the day.
However, just last week, the federal government announced $4 million in additional federal money for Health Canada’s Healthy Eating Awareness and Education Initiative. And while $4 million is a drop in the bucket compared to the total spending on healthcare, it’s a start and may represent a shift in government thinking.
Time will tell.
What can we do NOW?
You could write a letter to your MP or MPP or the appropriate federal/provincial Health Minister….and they might send you a nice form letter telling you how they take the health of Canadians seriously…yadda yadda.
Or you could use your Twitter and Facebook accounts to put a little heat under their seats.
- Canada – Leona Aglukkaq – Federal Minister of Health and Long-Term Care – Facebook – Twitter
- Alberta – Fred Horne – Minister of Health and Wellness – Facebook – Twitter
- British Columbia – Michael de Jong – Minister of Health – Facebook – Twitter
- Manitoba – Jim Rondeau – Minister of Healthy Living, Youth and Seniors – Facebook
- New Brunswick – Madeline Dubé – Minister of Health – Facebook
- Newfoundland – Susan Sullivan – Minister of Health and Community Services – Facebook – Twitter
- Northwest Territories – Tom Beaulieu – Minister of Health and Social Services – website
- Nova Scotia – Maureen MacDonald – Minister of Health and Wellness – Facebook – Twitter
- Nunavut – Keith Peterson – Minister of Health and Social Services – website
- Ontario – Deb Matthews – Minister of Health – Facebook – Twitter
- Prince Edward Island – Doug Currie – Minister of Health and Wellness – Facebook – Twitter
- Quebec – Yves Bolduc – Ministre de la Santé et des Services sociaux – Facebook
- Saskatchewan – Don McMorris – Minister of Health – Facebook – Twitter
- Yukon – Minister of Health and Social Services- Facebook – Twitter
NOTE – this problem isn’t unique to Canada. Other countries (like the US of A – #17 of 17) could use with a healthy dose of health promotion.