Wednesday, January 04, 2006


Who'd have thought we'd see health care be saved for TWO generations?

Today, Paul Martin gleefully announced his "Wait Time Guarantee*" and told Canadians that his government would fix health care once and for all.

Hurrah! Hurrah! Now I can have that annyurism without any fear! But as we all know, the devil is in the details.

So, Martin is pledging to spend $100M over 5 years to hire 1,000 new doctors. He'll do this by offering more residency spaces and accelerating placement for immigrant doctors. So, what dies this mean for us? $100M (that's like over 1/3 of the sponsorship money) and what do we get for it?

Not a lot.

The Canadian Medical Assocation boasts a membership of about 60,000. So lets say there are 60,000 doctors in Canada. Adding 1,000 new doctors will increase the total doctor population by a mere 1.7%.

Alright, better that decreasing it, right?

Before you drive with no seatbelt, you must take into account the fact that according to the CMA, Canada loses about 200-250 doctors each year, primarily to the U.S. So, even if all 1,000 are added (who knows what FIBeral friend or agency will get some of that money as part of a "recruiting" contract), that same number of doctors will have already left in 5 years!

After $100M spent, we will have EXACTLY the same number of doctors we had when the program started.

On top of that, we haven't even begun to address the doctor shortage in this country. According to the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development, the average ratio for doctor per 1,000 people is 2.9. In Canada, the ratio is 2.1.

To get us up to those levels, (you might want to check my math on this) it would mean we would need approximately 30,000 more doctors to bring us up to where we need to be (3 for every 1,000 people), or at least where other countries are.


A far cry from the paltry 1,000 we are being offered for the low, low price of $100M.

This isn't even a band-aid. Its salt on the wound.

* not a guarantee

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