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  • Canadian Healthcare System Functioning: The Mechanisms and Challenges Overview

    Article by Canadian Health&Care Mall

    The basis of Canadian healthcare system is providing the population with easily accessible primary care physicians services (through family doctors), who make up nearly half of all the practicing physicians in the country. They control the access to specialized services (tomography or X-ray scanning), hospital services and prescription drugs. When choosing the family doctor the patient is taking advantage of a dedicated health monitoring on a basic level; however, even though theoretically a person can switch to another family therapist, in the context of extremely heavy workload on such personnel the choice is somewhat limited.

    Healthcare System

    A good number of specialists run private practices where they enjoy a high degree of autonomy. But the majority is working in hospitals or local health centers on a contractual basis. The services provided by private practice physicians are often covered by the state, depending on the assistance provided – the fee to private physicians is paid directly from provincial or territorial budgets. Therapists who do not have a private practice are paid a fixed salary, although the amount may also correlate with the amount of medical services provided. During a visit to the family doctor or clinic of their choice Canadians use their health insurance cards (Health Card), which any legal resident of the country can obtain.

    Read more about HealthCare in Canada:

    Canadian citizens take advantage of a well-developed, organized system of hospitals – both diversified and specialized. In addition, there’s a wide network of medical centers that combine medical and preventive approaches with a focus on healthy lifestyle training. These institutions have a budget funding under the various programs. More than 95% of all Canadian hospitals operate on the principle of non-profit private organizations run by local the Board of Directors, voluntary organizations or municipalities. Dental services operates separately from the entire health system, except the cases where emergency dental care (surgery as a rule) is needed. Pharmacies also function independently from the state organizations.

    Health financing: where do money go? 

    Canadian health care system is often called free. Actually under Canadian law, the Public Health (Canada Health Act) services are guaranteed only in case of insurance for this particular type is provided; thus, many public services are not covered by insurance or partially covered. For example, some provinces do not include insurance physiotherapy services, as well as a number of drugs. Medical service It is funded through general taxation (federal, regional, income, tax citizens and taxes paid by companies), and payment of premiums cash.

    The average annual contribution of each Canadian in health system is estimated at around $2.500. To finance the industry some provinces use additional sources (sales tax, lottery and voluntary donations). In 2005, the Canadian budget has been allocated $148bn. for healthcare services. Hospital care and pharmaceuticals purchases are the most significant expenditure items of today. Nearly 70% of all the spendings are funded by the state, another 30% are accumulated from taxes and out of pocket payment. Additional insurance purchased citizens, covers the cost of a stay in a private room, medicine, dental services and other expenses. Public health insurance programs provide free maintenance in hospitals, including the services of doctors and nurses (diagnostics, treatments, surgery). Beauty care for women in childbirth in food hospitals are paid by patients themselves.

    The insurance program operating in all the provinces of Canada provides free access to health care for patients regardless of their place of payment of taxes (with the exception of Quebec). In this province non-residents cover medical services fully, although upon the return to the province of residence the costs are reimbursed.

    Provinces and territories provide extended medical care programs to those population categories that are less protected: the elderly, children, the unemployed and the mentally ill. The list of such services includes the following services: practical assistance to the disabled, the elderly; pharmaceutical coverage; dental care; ophthalmologist services; provision of various tools for people with disabilities (prostheses, wheelchairs), and etc..

    In the absence of an insurance policy using health care services in Canada is a very expensive affair, almost inaccessible to the average inhabitant of the country.

    Nursing services scope of work 

    Nurses in Canada, working as part of multidisciplinary teams, provide assistance to patients in accordance with the plan of nursing care and appointments issued by the doctors. Nursing practice involves a number of interrelated areas:

    • Direct patients assistance;
    • Working in education field;
    • Implementing administrative tasks;
    • The development of nursing policies; conducting scientific work.

    The basis of nursing practice is direct patient care, but regardless of affiliation to a particular field of activity all the personnel is guided by the approved standards of nursing practice.

    The golden era of healthcare is sinking into oblivion? 

    One of the most controversial aspects of the Canadian healthcare is long waiting lists. This is particularly true in situations where patients have to wait, in spite of the presence of acute pain (e.g., if some surgery is required) or in a particularly bad conditions (while waiting for cancer surgery, radio or chemotherapy). As family physicians generally work autonomously, without there is lack of organizations where patients can refer to 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to get the necessary consultation. As a result, an excessive congestion at emergency rooms of hospitals, as well as additional waste handling in commercial clinics are observed. The country is supposed to carry out reforms aimed at creating groups of primary care physicians with an extended working day (they are expected to work in different fields: nurses, doctors, therapists and specialists). The forms of remuneration is another concern: a fixed fixed salary and payments per services provided are not universally equal and depend on the region, specialization type and etc.