From the Editor: October 2013

Mari-Len De Guzman
October 02, 2013
Written by
The Health Council of Canada (HCC) has released its latest report on a decade of health-care reform in Canada. The results, according to the agency, are disappointing.

The report, issued Sept. 19, found that, with some exceptions, health-care reforms in Canada have not kept up with the evolving needs of Canadians.

“Primary health-care services lag behind other countries. Home care services do not adequately meet seniors’ needs. Prescription drug costs remain beyond the means of many Canadians,” said the HCC, which was created in 2003 to monitor and report on the progress of health-care reform in Canada.

Canada is among the highest spenders in the world when it comes to health care, spending more than $200 billion in 2012 – and yet, the state of health care in this country does not reflect this high spending. We are closer to the bottom compared to higher-income countries when it comes to quality of care.

The HCC report also found that despite Canada’s high spending on physician salaries, it has the lowest number of physicians per capita. There is clearly a void in our primary care system that has not been effectively filled by
physicians today and is contributing to the unsatisfactory performance of our overall health-care system.

Up to 80 per cent of the Canadian population are affected by some form of musculoskeletal condition. Imagine the burden it would take off our health-care system, if patients could go directly to a health-care provider who can actually help relieve their condition instead of being passed around from specialist to specialist, waiting months to get an appointment or a diagnostic procedure, only to be disappointed in the end.

As Dr. Jay Robinson, president of the British Columbia Chiropractic Association, puts it, “The analysis shows that when patients (with musculoskeletal conditions) are seen by a chiropractor the number of unnecessary referrals to specialists is reduced dramatically. Chiropractic treatment is saving our government health-care system a great deal of time and money.”

The chiropractic associations and colleges across Canada have done a great job in raising the profile of the profession within the health-care community and among the general public. But the work must continue.

As long as chiropractic treatment remains outside the realm of the provincial social health-care system, public access to much-needed neuromusculoskeletal expertise is limited to those with extended health-care benefits from their employers and a few who have the extra cash to pay for chiropractic treatment.

The HCC report is calling for pan-Canadian collaboration among health-care stakeholders across Canada to develop meaningful strategies to turn the health-care system around. Perhaps, this is a foot in the door for chiropractic to be heard in this important dialogue.

The chiropractic community definitely has the expertise and the evidence to back up its claim for recognition. Now it needs to just get in there and play with the big kids.

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