Friday, October 24, 2008

Canadian Health Care - My Experience . . . .


We've been living here in Vancouver full-time since June and it was time to acquire a personal family doctor. After enquiring of friends and neighbours, we were unsuccessful in gaining access to those recommended due to the fact that they were not accepting new patients. This situation is quite common in many parts of Canada we've been told.

At any rate, I took it upon myself to check our BC Health Care's website for finding physicians in different fields that were accepting new patients. To make this story short, my requirements were fairly simple: The doctor needed to be relatively close to home, and I preferred a recent medical school graduate so he or she would be "up to date" on current medical practises. My search was successful, and I had an initial "meet and greet" a couple of weeks ago. The young physician at that meeting ordered a lab test for cholesterol levels as I had a history of elevated readings.

Today's follow-up appointment was to discuss the lab results and a simple mini-physical. I left the strata at 9:45 for a 10:30 appointment. Taking public transportation, 25 minutes and two transfers later I arrived at the office. The doctor called me into his office at exactly 10:30. We reviewed the results, he issued a prescription for a cholesterol drug, did the mini-physical, discussed other minor aches and pains and I was out of the office feeling quite satisfied with the results and the doctor's professionalism. Another sequence of bus rides back to the 'hood, a stop by the local pharmacy, and I was back home at 11:30. Yup, you read that right. The whole experience including receiving the prescribed medication and transportation took less than two hours. All labs, doctor's visits, consultations were included in our basic BC Health Care plan.

Ask me what I think about Canadian health care.

Go ahead.

I'll tell you at this point I am very satisfied.

On another note, our elderly next door neighbour has suffered a stroke since we have been here. The care, extended hospital and rehabilitative therapy facility stays involved have been exemplary. Doctors and health care personnel I met while visiting here were very impressive. No rushing the patient out of the hospital and back home before she was fully recovered - unlike in the US.

The fear-mongering they spew in the US about Canadian health care is total BS . . . .


6 comments:

Alison said...

And you know we take it utterly for granted - we cannot imagine not taking it for granted - even to the point of voting in governments that would undermine it.

West End Bob said...

Let's not let that happen, Alison.

Quality, affordable health care is a basic human right and we need to protect it at all costs . . . .

Jennifer Smith said...

Healthcare is one of those areas that is particularly vulnerable to the conservative tactic of taking a functional public service, choking off the funds until it becomes dysfunctional, then shouting, "See? It's not working - bring in the private clinics!"

This has been particularly true here in Ontario, where we still haven't recovered from the dark days of Mike Harris. But even here, I have yet to experience those legendary lengthy "wait times".

Maybe it's worse in downtown Toronto, but when I went to the Milton ER with a sprained ankle last winter, I was seen, assessed, X-rayed, drugged up and sent on my merry way in less than an hour. It's not always that quick, but even when it's been busy I've never spent more than 45 minutes in the ER waiting room, or more than 24 hours to get an appointment to see my family doctor.

So next time you hear complaints about Canada's heathcare system, consider who's doing the complaining and what they might have to gain from privatization.

Vancouver Isle Doug said...

Great post, and I just may check that sight you mentioned to find a Dr, as we are NOT happy with the only one in Sooke that was accepting patients. We may have to venture to the big city for health care.

The Mason said...

I am going to be INCREADIBLY jealous if you say this doctor is Dr. David Hall (it sounds just like him!) If this is him, then you are in wonderful hands (and not bad to look at either!) ;-)

Nick and I went through the same issue of having to find a primary, but thankfully Dr. Hall was a friend's recommendation AND accepted patients if referred by someone already in his care.

Instantly, I was impressed with the system, his genuine care and concerns and overall involvement.

THEN, the bastard followed his heart and his love and went to Vancouver after his partner was transfered there and we lost Dr. McHottieHall to you pot-smoking, granola-eatin' hippie west coast freaks. ;-)

Daniel wbc said...

My experience was not so good ... but I'm just seeing that as a less-than-prime experience, not as an indictment of Canadian health care. (Believe me, I've had far worse experiences in the States.) Anyway, if you're comfortable, I'd love to get that name from you.