Our Healthcare System Is Sick

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Healthcare systems are being broken a lot of the time now.

I haven’t written in about a week as I haven’t been feeling well enough to do any writing but, I’m still here.

I have learned one thing though.

If you can’t count on your doctors, it’s time to get a new set of them but, good luck with that endeavour.

I’ve been wrestling with the idea of changing 2 of my doctors for awhile now.  The problem is, where I live, doctors are not only hard to come by but, they’re not taking on new patients either.  There’s a shortage of doctors and it’s little wonder with all of the influx of new immigrants and refugees to the city that I live in.

Don’t get me wrong, the healthcare here is great in terms of being “free” but, the wait times are horrendous and the staffing in major cities for health care is not up to snuff.

We have a lot of “walk-in clinics” that one can go to.  As a matter of fact, they are on almost every other block corner.  The problem with those are, they are only open during regular doc hours and extremely limited in not only what they can do for you but, also the days in which the docs work.  If you need healthcare, be ready to take time off of work even if it’s minor and you really should be there.  It’s a hassle to say the least.

Also added to the mix is the “house call service” which sends a GP to your home should you need one and not feel well enough to attend a walk-in or can’t get in touch with a family doc.  While it does save you the hassle of going to a walk-in and they do work after hours and weekends as well as holidays and, they save you from sitting elbow to elbow with other people who are just as sick and lost as you are or making you sick with something else too, their doctors should be retired, out to pasture or not practising at all anymore.  Their finesse has got up and left long ago, if they ever had it to begin with and they have little to offer you other than a script for antibiotics which often are the LAST thing that one would want unless absolutely needed.  In other words, it’s helpful to see a doc in your own home, after hours, which is something that walk-ins don’t seem to offer but, it has its drawbacks as well unless you have experienced something like it before and simply need a script for meds of some kind.

Here are things that have run though my head this week while being ill and not able to get ahold of my regular docs:

  1. Where all the doctors on a Friday?  Are they all on golf courses or squash courts?
  2. Why don’t walk-in clinics start at doctor’s offices closing hours and continue through a weekend and holidays?  Their signs say “closed” a good deal of the time.  If I could get off of work constantly to see my family doctor or specialists, I’d be a tad better off than now but, it’s impossible to keep a job and get to see a doctor during after work hours.
  3. Doctors who are in sole practises should be working a full week or stager their times off rather than everyone off on Fridays.
  4. Female physicians are off on maternity leaves more than they’re in their offices.  If one was to tally up the hours that they are off by comparison to the hours that they’ve been practising, one would find that they’re off more than they’re there.  What good is that?  Where are the older docs who took their career seriously and were there most of the week?
  5. Two half days a week, starting at 9 or 10 a.m. and ending at 2 p.m. with an hour for lunch is not considered a “practice” unless you’re part of a clinic where other doctors take you.  Either get other doctors in as a clinic setting or go work in a walk-in, after hours.
  6. I don’t get why it is that a secretary cannot answer a phone?  Voicemail is not soothing when your call and messages to even make an appointment goes unanswered for weeks on end in spite of being told “leave one message only”.  I’ve now started leaving one per day until I get a call back or threatening to go in anyway.  I’m considered a pain in the you-know-where but, it’s the only way to get called back in under 2 months.  Seriously.
  7. Sitting in an Emergency Department with others who have become flustered as well and don’t know where else to go is frustrating to say the least.  The hours, upon hours of waiting to be seen can be exhausting especially, when they let you go without doing anything to you after all of this and you end up with a stomach flu or a sore, infected throat and end up infecting others later in the week.
  8. They tell you NOT to clog up an ER with non-emergent cases but, where does one go?  Sadly, a lot of the people in waiting rooms in ER’s or Urgent Care facilities have no family doctor, don’t speak the language and are panic stricken by what is happening to them.  Most of all, a lot of them have 2 and 3 jobs where they cannot get in to see doctors during their scanty hours in office or walk-in clinics hours that are less than some doctor’s practise hours.
  9. If you have a health issue that cannot be taken care of by a walk-in clinic doc, your own family doctor (or you can’t get in because there’s no appointments left to be had for months on end), you’ve only got the ER left who will often tell you to “follow up with your own physician”.  After hours, upon hours of waiting, you’re left fed up and ready to scream.  That’s when the staff tell you not to be annoying and keep quiet.  In other words, you’re screwed for help.
  10. Eat well, exercise, lose weight, don’t smoke, drink or do anything that goes against medical standards and you still have a problem with your health?  Why?
  11. Test, test and more testings that take ages to get done because they’re all booked up.  What do you do?  Wait, wait and more waiting while sick.
  12. No hospital beds open so, people lay on gurneys in hallways and no one bothers with them.  I’ve seen elderly, frail people fall, trying to get to a bathroom when no one answers their call.  I’ve helped many of them get there, only to have my wrist slapped and be told, “that’s OUR job…you shouldn’t be doing it!”  When I’ve asked why they ignored this person’s pleas for help, there’s never an answer other than, “we’re busy”.  They’re not too busy to chew you out though for helping someone else in trouble.
  13. “I’m caught between a rock and a hard place because I can’t get in to see any of my docs and there’s no appointments for one within a reasonable amount of time.  Six months isn’t going to help me,” I’ve reasoned with myself, all the while, contemplating quitting my job or retiring if I can so that I can chase down healthcare.
  14. There are no doctors who can draw upon their experiences and knowledge anymore.  Everything has to be done according to text books and test results which all take a lot of time to get in to do even if you can be flexible.
  15. The bigger the city, the better the hospital is alleged to be yet, they keep building more and more condo and apartment buildings to stack people on top of one another.  Hundreds to thousands of people can live in one building, stuck/rammed onto a corner lot.  Yet the services cannot keep up with the influx of population and, that includes schools, roads, stores, etc..  On the same hand, coffee places like Starbucks will spring up on every other street with a square inch that isn’t rammed full of condo buildings.  Next city elections, the candidates had better answer questions as to how they are going to deal with these crises or, they won’t get my vote.
  16. Doctor’s golf, tennis, squash or other activities don’t interest me when I’m sick and frankly, while I get my annual physicals, doing all of the testing required, I try to deal with my health issues in a preventive way versus trying to find a doctor to see me.  However, crap happens and we catch things that we didn’t count on that we need prescription meds for that only doctors can prescribe….that is…when they are in and you can get an appointment with them.

The way things are going now with healthcare, you’re stuck.  You’re lucky if you get more than 5 minutes with your doc even when you’re booked for 15 minutes.  Try rattling off more than one thing when you only have 5 minutes with a doc before they’re heading for the door to usher you out.  It’s nearly impossible and that, is after a 2 or 3 week wait for a family doc.

Last thing that I want to mention is that when I’ve gone into a specialist’s office who claims to be “so busy” that the secretary/receptionist cannot answer the phone, only to hear them singing church hymns while I’m waiting and waiting and waiting for the doctor to see me or, they complain about their jobs more than they are doing them, it gives me pause and makes me realize the reason for their inability to answer a phone during normal working hours.  I’ve tried to speak to the doctor about it, using up 3 of my 5 minutes with them, only to be met with the response, “that’s the way my office is run”.  When you mention an idea like, “how about hiring someone to just answer the phone during your office hours”, I’m met with disdain, dislike and curt, shortness.  I am then told to “come in to make an appointment” where I have done that, only to have the secretary not answer the door and had to go back to leaving a message per day.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’ve been in the Dental profession for years and done both but, I always made a call-back even if I took numbers home with me and called in the evenings.  No one went without a call back or at the least, an attempt at a couple of times of trying.  Not answering the phone was a rarity more than it was the rule.  Nowadays, it’s the rule, not a rarity.

From my little corner of life, don’t ever get sick and if you do, have pre-booked appointments that you can cancel because where I live, the healthcare system has issues.  It’s sick, in and of itself.  It needs a doctor.

Maybe, I should take up golfing or tennis?  I’d likely find doctors in those places.

Be well.  Love and Light,

Have a great day or evening.

 

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