It is appalling that some of our major hospitals are so strapped for space that patients are being treated in the hallways. Or that a makeshift emergency room had to be set up in a doughnut shop at Royal Columbian.
Hospital overcrowding is just another sign of our sick health care system.
In 1990, the World Health Organization ranked Canada 10th in the world. When rankings were last done in 2000, it had dropped to 30th place (one below Morocco, eight below Columbia).
It is clear that successive governments have failed in their responsibility to provide the public with an acceptable level of health care, prioritizing budget considerations over the needs of people.
The size and age distribution of our population was known. The fact that an aging population would place greater demands on health services was also known.
So closing hospitals and emergency wards as a means of reducing government spending was not just shortsighted, it was sheer negligence.
And don’t tell me it’s about money. Hogwash. If Ottawa ($560 billion in debt) can magically come up with $70 billion and a $200-billion line of credit to bail out banks, then it can come up with enough money to bail out health care.
It is the long and growing list of budget cuts to try and pay down never-ending debt that is making the system unsustainable. Not the number of sick and elderly.