Long before Covid Appeared Canada’s Hospitals Had Capacity Issues. The virus itself didn’t exacerbate the issue greatly. The response to the virus did. And will continue to.
To solve the country’s capacity problem, experts say, leaders need to finally confront the deeper flaws in how Canadian health care is structured
The strain on a hospital doesn’t just come from the additional patients. Health-care workers are also catching the virus, further depleting already slim staff numbers. (On Jan. 15, Hamilton’s wider hospital network – which includes Hamilton General – recorded 761 staff and physicians in self-isolation, the highest number of absences it’s had during the pandemic.) To cope, hospitals have had to intermittently cancel non-emergency surgeries and treatments, the repercussions of which will be felt for years.
At the same time, Canadians have grown frustrated with public-health measures. In a January poll from the Angus Reid Institute, more than half of the respondents said it was time to remove restrictions, which provinces have done to varying degrees, scrapping vaccine-passport programs, mandatory masking rules and public-gathering restrictions.
While it may seem hard to believe that hospital staff are still worried about COVID-19 overwhelming their facilities, given that 85 per cent of the eligible population is fully vaccinated – they are.
If the staff, as claimed, is worried it’s because they know the vaccine doesn’t work.
Long before the pandemic, Canadian hospitals were regularly operating at or above full capacity. Hallway medicine, lengthy surgery backlogs and emergency-room wait times, the shortage of nurses and primary-care physicians, the looming catastrophe in long-term care – these have been top-of-mind problems for more than 20 years.
So while only a small fraction of COVID-19 sufferers become sick enough to require hospitalization, Canadian hospitals have had little ability to absorb them, forcing politicians to impose some of the strictest lockdowns and public-health measures in the world.
Let’s repeat that admission:
So while only a small fraction of COVID-19 sufferers become sick enough to require hospitalization…..
When the pandemic finally ends, that capacity crisis will still be here, and, in fact, it’s expected to worsen. By 2031, the youngest baby boomers will have turned 65. Life-expectancy rates have been climbing and more people are living with chronic illnesses.
The fix isn’t just adding more staff or building more hospitals, say dozens of experts interviewed by The Globe and Mail. It’s about how the system is organized and paid for. Bed shortages are a symptom of more fundamental ills. To solve the country’s capacity problem, experts say, leaders need to finally confront the deeper flaws in how Canadian health care is structured.
This is a call for bringing for profit care into Canada. That move won’t help the people. It will make money for corporations. At your expense.