As I read a great letter to the editor responding to my recent article on the healthcare system, I felt compelled to further that exchange here.
Here is a link to the letter for those that may have missed it:
I agree with the writer, David Jenkins, on much of what he wrote. Mr. Jenkins was spot on when he noted, “The issue with healthcare goes much deeper than which government is throwing money at it. What we have is an injury & illness repair system that is addicted to money, and like any addict it will always come back for the next hit to feed its habit: there will never be enough.”
Regardless of whether it is the taxpayers paying federally or provincially, healthcare is all one system that is perpetuated by these limited dollars. But if it isn’t working for people, why?
As we hear the stories of our imploding system of care, one must ask – who is benefitting from this system?
Mr. Jenkins letter appropriately describes those stakeholders.
“This is a self-perpetuating system because there are so many interests in seeing it continue: high paying careers for medical professionals and administrators; lucrative supply contracts for medical equipment and pharmaceutical companies; great photo ops for politicians as they are seen ‘to be doing something’ opening yet one more expensive Injury & Illness Repair facility. Where is there any incentive to kill the goose that lays the golden egg? Just inject the next cash fix.”
So how do we really undertake to fix it?
I believe we need a systemic change that focuses on individual and community wellness, rather than just repairing injuries and illnesses.
The way that funding is given should also be examined. Why is the system giving the money to the institution, instead of following the patients and their outcomes?
The writer correctly identified that our healthcare system is addicted to money. However, I believe that this addiction is not just limited to the healthcare industry but is a societal problem.
We are a society that has become addicted to quick fixes and instant gratification, which has led to a rise in chronic illnesses and a burden on our healthcare system.
It is also true that personal lifestyle choices also have a significant impact on the healthcare system. Poor diet, lack of exercise, and addictive behaviours all contribute to the burden on the system.
However, one must also recognize that there are many societal factors that contribute to these lifestyle choices, including poverty, lack of access to healthy food options, and inadequate public spaces for physical activity.
But even against these circumstances and pressures, I have to believe that a new holistic system could be created and we can make changes to healthcare that will focus on prevention and wellness.
We need to take this holistic approach to healthcare that addresses these underlying societal factors, in addition to promoting individual responsibility for wellness.
This will require collaboration between government, healthcare professionals, and individuals.
This will also require political courage and leadership in the political parties controlling the system.
I appreciate hearing from Mr. Jenkins – and everyone that takes the time to write or call me. I really do read and listen to every message that comes in!
I thought that the points made by David were important to respond to publicly so that we could all interact on them.
My question to you is this:
Do you think that we would benefit from a more holistic care model?
I love hearing from you!
You can email me at Renee.Merrifield.MLA@leg.bc.ca or call the office at 250-712-3620.