Health Care in Canada and Ways It Could Be Improved


The government of Canada funds health care for all people who are permanent residents through the money generated from the tax. The poor and the rich enjoy the services in their respective provinces and territories where coverage of hearing aids and prescription of drugs is provided. There is a ten-year plan that aims at reducing the time spent by patients while waiting to be attended in hospital, through centralized registries where wait times are posted electronically. Emergency rooms are overcrowded and the referral system is used all the time except for patients with heart problems and there are outdated pieces of equipment for an x-ray which result in the wrong diagnosis. There is a need for change through the use of electronic health records and the computerization of information for all the patients so that they can be accessed by doctors.

Health Care in Canada

Healthcare in Canada is funded by the government through a system of national healthcare that has five principles of the Health Act. These principles help in providing health care services that are available to all the people who reside there permanently. The services offered are comprehensive and accessible to both the poor and the rich people without any income barriers. These medical services are portable by those living in the country and outside since they are administered publicly. This system allows territories and all the provinces to have their health care plans where the residents are provided with prepaid physician services. The responsibilities of the territories include; providing funds, medical services, dispensing prescriptions, and public health. Coverage is offered for services such as, prescription drugs, hearing aids, dental care, and optometric services which depend on the territory that one is residing. For example, there is a program for drugs that benefit people who live in Ontario to help the seniors with the prescription of costly drugs.

The healthcare Act of Canada uses the principle of portability which allows Canadians to get emergency services when they are out of their place of residence, either to do business or on vacation. Due to the high cost of medical care in some countries, many Canadians have already purchased travel insurance to be used when they travel abroad. The Canadian government gets its fund to finance health care from taxation which includes; income tax, personal tax, and sales tax. In some of the provinces, the the premium is charged on yearly basis on the annual income. For example, In Ontario, in the year 2005, a premium of C$575 would be charged to a person who earned C$48500. (Rachlis, 2004)

How health care in Canada can be improved

There is a plan for ten years that shows strategic investments that aims at reducing the time the patients wait before they are attended, especially those who have heart diseases, joint replacements, and cancer. To reduce the wait times, the federal government invests $4.5billion as the fund for the reduction of wait times. The fund for reducing wait times are used for increasing the number of health professionals who are hired, building many health centers, and training many doctors to reduce the shortage.

Health survey in the Canadian communities helps to get an understanding of experiences undergone by patients when they are being given medical services. Detailed findings are given on how families get access to physicians at any time of the day. There are also contact services where patients whose needs are not met can report their problems so that their needs can be taken care of. Children who need replacement of hip or knee and cataract surgery are given priority by medical care providers before the other patients are attended. (McIntyre, 2005)

There are initiatives at the provincial level where registries are centralized and information about wait times is posted electronically. Health care in Canada together with international organizations and partners has a better understanding of management especially in electric surgery so that patients can be attended without any delay. The government of Canada ensures that health care services are provided to the entire public and medical associations should not mislead the citizens on services that aim at making a profit. (McIntyre, 2005)

Reasons why health care in Canada is not what it could be

Health care in Canada is not what it could be because; there is overcrowding in the emergency room and a referral system for the patients. Many hospitals will only accept patients if they are not paying high taxes but if they are overtaxed; the patients who are accepted are the ones suffering from heart attacks. Healthcare in Canada collapsed where the staff in Quebec hospital announce that the sick should not go to the hospital. There was a strike of nurses in Montreal where they were protesting against overcrowding in all the hospitals and an elderly person died while still waiting to be treated in the emergency room. When politicians in the country requested more funding in healthcare, the request was rejected which made health care not offer high-quality medical services to patients because; there were insufficient funds to purchase the needed medicine and employ qualified staff.

The people who are put on the waiting list take long before seeing the doctor and they are put on another waiting list to get the needed treatment. This means that patients are put on a waiting list to get to another waiting list which is very dangerous because; some are in critical condition that needs immediate attention and treatment, but they fail to be served at the right time. In the year 2000, Radiologists in Canada reported that the pieces of equipment used for x-ray were outdated which resulted in the wrong diagnosis of diseases. The survey done on healthcare showed that the quality of healthcare given had already declined and the patient with stroke and heart attack were having a low-quality life. Health care is costly due to expensive services and difficulty in making decisions. Insurance companies have high charges in their management of healthcare and bureaucrats in Canada do not look for ways of limiting the expenditures. The technology in healthcare is of low quality and it is lagging behind the western countries because; new advanced technology is not available. (Rachlis, 2004)

How health care in Canada could be changed

There should be an Initiative to create Electronic health records, but it becomes difficult because; there are many jurisdictions that are in control of healthcare in the country. It is not easy to have a common objective and obtain an agreement due to administering, delivering, and funding healthcare at the provincial level. This implies that; thirteen health strategies are set by thirteen governments which are supposed to have different provincial electronic health records. (Rachlis, 2004)

To have changed; there is a need to realize that, it is very important to have health care but it is very expensive to manage it in each province. There is a need for the government to take management of healthcare in the whole country so that there can be one body that is providing funds, administration, infrastructure in the information technology, and one strategy of health. When implementing this, politicians should not be held responsible for this change but an organization should be set to look at all the policies to ensure there is a healthcare system that is sustainable and of benefit to the future generation.

Privacy of medical records is important to protect the medical information of patients. Although this is expensive, it needs to be accepted so that the medical information of individuals is not accessed by everyone. Digitization of medical records should be done so that multiple doctors can access the record. Every doctor will have a link while in his office where information about each patient is updated by the doctor directly using computerized records at a central site. (McIntyre, 2005)


McIntyre M. Realities of Canadian nursing: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2005 pp 33-39.

Rachlis M. How Innovation is saving Canada’s Health Care System: HarperCollins, 2004 pp45-57.

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