Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall is calling for healthcare reform, and plans to request that new funds from Ottawa be tied to innovation in order to develop a more effective system.
To illustrate his position, Wall used an example from Saskatchewan where one man visited the emergency room a total of 150 times in just one year. While this man needed help, the premier said, his concerns could have been better addressed by other areas of the healthcare system.
"If that individual is getting the care that he needs from some other part of the healthcare system and not presenting himself to emergency, does that lighten the fact that in some cases it’s a 12-hour wait for emergency room care?" he said in an article from CBC.ca.
These health care issues and emergency room wait times are concerns that are not exclusive to Saskatchewan. Statistics Canada reports an estimated 4.1 million Canadians above the age of 12 are without a family doctor, while the 2007 Canadian Community Health Survey found that of those without a doctor, 78 percent seek medical care elsewhere.
But there is some improvement, Ontario’s current average wait time in the emergency room is 8.3 hours (down from an average time of 9.4 hours in April 2008). And, in the last year, Alberta has launched an online tool that allows patients to check an estimate of how long they’ll wait before heading to the emergency room.
Where do you turn first for health care? Do you think more needs to be done to shorten emergency room wait times?