Hedy Fry: Stephen Harper’s Conservatives silent on health care

    1 of 1 2 of 1

      There is no doubt that Canada’s medicare system is under pressure. Long waiting lists, patient anxiety, and physician frustration are clear indicators. The recent use of a Tim Hortons for emergency overflow beds at Royal Columbian Hospital in New Westminster provided a dramatic picture that had pundits calling for a radical overhaul of the current system.

      Indeed, longevity and an ageing population, rapidly evolving technologies, and a shortage of health care providers will continue to increase the strain on the system.

      There are those who call for radical change, who advocate that access to private care should be available to those who can pay, thus freeing up services in the public system for those who cannot pay. As a physician who witnessed this very change in the British National Health Service, I can say this is not the answer.

      Health care providers did not stay long in the poorly funded public system, but gravitated to the private system where there were better resources and pay. The public system soon became under-serviced and neglected; health care became two-tier in quality and outcomes as well as financing. This is surely not what we want in Canada.

      The Canada Health Act stipulates that federal cost sharing be directed to hospitals and physicians only. This conditional preamble is no longer valid today. It has been proven in other countries, notably Holland, that components of care can be adequately delivered by trained healthcare providers other than physicians and in places other than hospitals.

      Amending the preamble of the CHA to allow for this flexibility would not only be cost effective but more efficient.

      Hospitals would therefore be used only for acute and complicated care, complemented by a system of home care and extended care. This would free up hospital beds and bring down wait lists, but more importantly it has been proven that home and extended care would bring down costs per person per day by almost one third.

      Better management of the system would not only achieve better patient outcomes, but also free up dollars for investment in health infrastructure and in disease prevention and health promotion.

      Almost 60 percent of disease is preventable.

      Dollars saved could also be invested in training of medical and other health care professionals to meet increasing demand, further decreasing wait times.

      These were all part of a Liberal plan for home care, health human resource development, and flexible management of medicare, signed by Paul Martin and the provinces in 2004. $43 billion was contributed by the federal government of the day toward this Health Accord.

      It was a Liberal Pearson government that began medicare. It was Liberal Chrétien and Martin governments that strengthened it. A new Liberal government is committed to continuing the Health Accord (which sunsets in 2014), as well as introducing innovations including home care and helping families cope with costs for caring for an ill loved one at home.

      The only word we have heard about these issues from the current federal government is that “health care is a provincial jurisdiction”.

      Hedy Fry is seeking re-election as the Liberal MP for Vancouver Centre. She formerly served as president of the B.C. Medical Association and minister of state for multiculturalism and status of women.




      Apr 5, 2011 at 4:33pm

      Gee Hedy,all it takes is a few ideas and $43B.This politics stuff is easy.


      Apr 5, 2011 at 4:46pm

      It's not the federal goverment, haven't you heard it's the HARPER Goverment and he'd love to see a user pay for health care more along the lines they have or had in the States. That way more seniors would die off and he'd save money on CPP and old age security.


      Apr 5, 2011 at 7:52pm

      Health care is not a provincial jurisdiction. Any one who has had a disability will tell you otherwise. I worked for 25 years and had a slip at work and a car accident which ended my working career. I paid my taxes, union dues, and insurance premiums and was fired while on disability because the insurance company Great West Life did not want t to pay my disability claim. As a result, I had to apply for social assistance and disability through the CPP Disability Plan which is federal. Some disabled persons take an early retirement to compensate for their loss of disability benefits. This puts a tremendous strain on the federal budget, and the pension plan. The federal government needs to protect the laws and regulations of the health care system so that they are not manipulated by insurance companies and employers who do not want to pay out benefits, which puts the burden on the federal tax payers. The employer or insurance carrier can request as many independent medical exams as they wish so as to discredit your medical diagnosis. This creates a duplication of medical diagnosis by doctors hired to do IMEs. As well, persons are not getting the proper care they need because of doctors who are willing to challenge a GP or specialists diagnosis including ex-rays and mris. This is a serious problem pitting one doctor against another, and doctors are leaving the GP practice for that reason. I lost my GP, he retired because of the strain IME's and paperwork for insurance companies require. The whole system needs to be reviewed as there is too much waste, and the money is not going to the right doctors. The College of Physicians and Surgeons need to work with the governments, both federal and provincial to fix this huge and growing problem.


      Apr 5, 2011 at 11:43pm

      Our health care system is clearly broken. The feds have tried just shoveling more money at it, and it's not working. It's not politically correct to say it, but this country needs to have a mature discussion on what we can do to fix the system. At the current pace, we wont be able to afford any of the other social programs we have in Canada. It's 45% of the BC provincial budget!!!

      I suggest that Dr. Fry look at Dr. Keith Martin's proposal. (http://www.keithmartin.org/articles/domestic-health/health-care-reform-d...) This is a great start!

      We need Health care reform!

      Taxpayers R Us

      Apr 5, 2011 at 11:56pm

      Our health care does need a plan but what says the Liberals will bring this to us? The Cons won't,Libs say anything to get elected, maybe the NDP?


      Apr 6, 2011 at 12:45am

      The biggest issue in our riding is affordable housing and Hedy takes an entire column to write only about Health Care. Yes we care about Health, but there are other important issues too.

      Speaking of wasting space, Hedy, why weren't you in the House for the vote on the NDP Bill C304 for an affordable housing strategy? Why were you absent from the House on votes 36 times? That makes you 60th out of 308 MP's. Was it Liberal strategy - just don't show up? That's not leadership, that's a sinking ship.

      And you attempt to take Liberal credit for Canada's health care system from the NDP's Tommy Douglas. Another Liberal strategy - borrow everything from the NDP.

      It's time for a change. I'm tired of Hedy and the Liberals only seeking power. I want someone who will work hard to represent me because they care about the people, not power. That's definitely not Ignatief's Liberals or Harpers Conservatives, and specifically not Hedy Fry.
      It is the NDP.


      Apr 6, 2011 at 1:42am

      I place Hedy Fry among one of the worst MP's in Canada. She's a loose cannon and not a great character. One of my relatives met her once to discuss a particular issue, and she spent the majority of the time discussing her own achievements, barely listening to the concerns of her guests.

      Scott E

      Apr 6, 2011 at 10:12am

      Wouldn't it be convenient if the election were in August, so Hedy could come out of hiding, flash her legs in the Pride parade and call it her campaign all at once, before disappearing back into the soundproof box she's kept in to avoid further embarassment. Invisible, ineffective, and cheesy. Thanks for crushing Kim Campbell and everything but you haven't done a lick of representing for us since.

      Ken Lawson

      Apr 6, 2011 at 11:21am

      Oh my god, Hedy Fry is still alive!

      PSWA Canada

      Apr 6, 2011 at 2:37pm

      Hedy, health care is Provincial stuff, yes the feds kick in funds, but they limit themselves as far as policy and who gets treated first.
      How will the Liberals address the problem of police in BC not providing medical staff with written objective reports when police take citizens to medical staff under the BC Mental Health Act Section 28(1)?
      Police do not have to see a citizen doing anything in order for the police to apprehend/arrest/detain under the BC MHA Sec. 28(1)! Police can just rely on verbal information from a caller who could be acting in Bad faith. In Oak Bay on Vancouver Island, the OB police took man to Royal Jubilee hospital under the BC MHA Sec. 28(1), the medical staff did not realize this and released the man after the police left, they did first attend to another injury, but not mental health. The man after being released from hospital set fire to someone's residence, they said they didn't know police brought him in under the BC NHA. So many miscommunications, one medical mistake is one too many, what will the Liberals do about it? The federal government needs to Audit provincial facilities who detain and drug citizens against their will, to ensure that only those in need of mental health services actually receive it.