Wednesday, October 26th, 2016

The 10 Million Dollar Question About Queue-jumping and Canadian Health Care


How does a request to examine the concerns of doctors facing intimidation within a public health care system morph into a Health Services Preferential Access Inquiry? Oh, wait a minute, the answer to that question is worth more than 10 million.

The Alberta government is now conducting a public inquiry into allegations of queue-jumping within its provincial health care system. Are you thinking what I’m thinking? You don’t need to call a friend because you already know the final answer. The answer to this 10 million dollar question is – yes, queue-jumping is happening in our government-run health care system. It’s not only happening in Alberta but all across Canada. Waiting lists and queue-jumping are both symptoms of a sick system whose underlying cause is government control of health care.

You’ll hear some people say that queue-jumping is unfair and un-Canadian. These comments are meant to guilt you into staying quiet and staying in line. It helps feed the culture of fear and intimidation used to subdue both patients and doctors in our public health care system. You’ll hear people say that our government-run system allocates health care based on need. If there are patients on waiting lists who don’t need health care then what exactly are they waiting for? What do the patients whose care has been compromised by waiting think about waiting lists? What do the families of patients who’ve died while waiting for their number to be called think about waiting lists?

The thought of Alberta taxpayers being forced to pay 10 million for an inquiry into queue-jumping is sickening, but it does bring to light another question whose answer carries a different personal cost for each of us: Who owns your health in a public health care system?

Politicians aren’t the only ones who can jump the queues. It’s up to each of us to advocate for our own patient-centered care. Here are my previous posts providing tips for queue-jumping and a top 10 countdown of reasons for leaving the queues.


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