BONOKOSKI: Canadians want options to a failing health-care system

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There was a big stink late last year when an emergency patient at the Ottawa Hospital — crying in pain from a back injury, vomiting and begging for a place to curl up — was told by a fed-up staffer to lie on the floor.

Witnesses spoke of gasps of disbelief coming from the waiting room.

Such is the compassion of a healthcare system on life support.

A few months ago, I was coincidentally at the same hospital, likewise in pain from a back that occasionally goes wonky and, after seven hours of waiting and being told an X-ray or CT scan would be unlikely, I hobbled out.

My family doctor later looked at a copy of the report and smiled.

The report had “WONS” scrawled across the page which, according to my GP, is apparently hospital shorthand for “walked out, not seen.”

Funny now perhaps, but not funny then.

Last week, a poll by Ipsos commissioned by the Canadian Constitution Foundation, a non-partisan charity, showed a strong majority of Canadians support private healthcare when provinces fail to provide timely medical treatment.

In Ontario, in a poll conducted by Ipsos for Global News around the time the Progressive Conservatives were imploding with internal chaos, the No. 1 concern in the minds of voters was health care.

To 40% of voters, the state of the province’s health-care system was the major concern, ahead of the economy (35%), and lower taxes (34).

High energy costs, which were in the headlines for months as more Ontarians had their power cut off in the dead of winter for unpaid electricity bills, came in fourth at 29%.

Proper healthcare eclipsed all.
As Howard Anglin, executive director of the Canadian Constitution Foundation put it, “No one is Canada should be forced to suffer while waiting for medically-necessary treatment because of government rationing of health care.”

Or be told to lie in pain on an ER floor.

But that’s the sorry state Canada is now in.