Tuesday, May 7, 2013

How to Save Our Health Care System



The health care system itself is on life-support

The increasing demands on our health care system, the obvious stresses to the system, to the provincial budget and to our own pocketbooks (skyrocketing pharmaceuticals ) indicates it's time for a significant change in direction.

Emergency ward physicians at the Nanaimo Regional General Hospital are again sounding the alarm about being overwhelmed by the volume of patients accessing the ward. Solutions so far have been limited to increasing funding, privatising services, reducing nursing qualifications, and building more facilities.

With nearly half of the province's budget now allocated to health care, and in light of the aging population and growing health problems among younger people, our current approach is not sustainable.

We need an approach that focuses on health and wellness rather than illness.

Before trying to cure ill people, we need to get serious about keeping people healthy. The Canadian Cancer Society is realising the better approach is to preserve people's health, not treat their cancer. 

The Cancer Society is not alone in this belief. They and other organisations have joined the BC Healthy Living Alliance, a non-profit organisation focused on keeping us healthy. Why? It is far cheaper, for starters. And there are many other obvious benefits, such as improved lives and better work-place productivity.

In two houses I recently visited as a part of my energy-advising business, I discovered instances of preventable environmental toxins making people ill.
In both cases the owners were slowly dying from carbon monoxide poisoning, but their doctors couldn't figure out why their patients were sick. As soon as we found the source, their symptoms evaporated. Health Canada has discovered that indoor air quality in many Canadian homes is 6 - 10 times worse indoors than out. It's a growing concern because there are so many chemicals and other toxic substances such as mould that are making us sick. The province needs to proactively help occupants eliminate these problems, rather than wait until people become ill.

Buildings are not the only culprit. With studies revealing that up to two-thirds of all chronic illnesses, such as heart disease and diabetes, are a result of diet choices I think it's time we take the same approach to harmful foods that we have with cigarettes. The money raised on taxing "junk food" could be used to provide locally grown organic fresh fruit and vegetables in schools, for example.

Such an approach would offer many benefits such as improved health, reduced childhood obesity, improved local economies, and greater self-reliance.

Without making these and other changes, our whole health care system will move from being in crisis mode to a collapse. Making small changes to the existing approach is not sufficient if we wish to have a health care system in place in the coming decades.

We need a qualitative change to the way we envision health care and the Green Party is prepared to provide that leadership.

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  3. If neighborhood wood smoke was curtailed it would save our medical system millions

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