What's Wrong with Healthcare?

Thinking inside and outside of the healthcare box. After 41 years of family practice, what's happened to Canada's healthcare system?

Saturday, December 31, 2005

The Beginning of the End

The following letter was written to the Editor of the Calgary Herald, at a time when the medical profession was put in a conflict of interest (approx. 1993). The Provinces set a provincial budget for health care. Basically, if that budget became overdrawn, the fees paid to the medical profession would be adjusted downwards to balance this provincial healthcare budget. Physicians were consequently put in a conflict of interest. Traditionally, they were to advocate for the interests of the patient. In this scenario, they would be advocating for the provincial health care budget.

The Editor
The Calgary Herald

Dear Sir:

Although there was not an Ides of March to mark the event, the culmination of a process started many years ago in Saskatchewan, later in Ottawa, then Quebec and more recently in Ontario and Alberta, may have been described by Shakespeare if he were alive today, as follows: “Thus dies the noblest profession of them all!”

Friends, Albertans, Canadians, lend me your ears.
I come to bury the medical profession, not to praise it.
The evil that men do lives after them, the good is of interred
With their bones.
So let it be with the medical profession.
The noble health ministers (federal and provincial) have told
You that the medical profession was self serving –
If it were so, it was a grievous fault, and grievously they
have answered for it.
Here, without leave of the politicians and the rest (College of
Physicians and Surgeons and the Alberta Medical Association)
For they are all honorable men,
Do I speak of the death of the medical profession.
They were my friends, faithful and just to me;
But the health ministers say the doctors were self serving,
And the politicians are all honorable men.
The doctors have spent long nights and years treating we,
The Canadian people.
Often sacrificing their personal lives and families.
Did this seem self serving?
When the sick and needy have cried, the profession freely gave
Their services.
Ambition should be made of sterner stuff. Yet the news media,
Too, say the profession is self serving,
And they too are all honorable men.
I speak not to disprove what they say
But rather I speak of what I do know.
You all did love and respect your doctors once,
What cause withholds you then to support and stand by them now?
Have men lost their reason?

A. A. W M.D.