The COVID-19 crisis has both divided and galvanised Canadians on healthcare. While the last three years have presented new challenges to healthcare systems across the country, the pandemic has also exacerbated existing challenges, most notably the high levels of errors and mistreatment documented in Canadian health care.
According to a 2019 report from the Canadian Patient Safety Institute, Canada was already facing a public health crisis prior to the pandemic: a crisis of patient safety. As the report details, patient safety incidents are the third leading cause of death in Canada, following cancer and heart disease.
Few studies calculate national data on this topic, but a 2013 report found that patient safety events resulted in just under 28,000 deaths. Many Canadians who have experienced these errors have shared their experiences with media in an effort to raise awareness and demand change.
The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has created a moment of dual crises. First, the pre-existing crisis of patient safety, and second, healthcare overall is now at a breaking point after three years of COVID-19, according to healthcare workers.
Edmonton physician Dr. Darren Markland, for example, recently closed his kidney specialist practice after making a few "profound mistakes." In an interview with Global News, he explains he could no longer work at the current pace.
He is not alone in this decision. Across the country, there have been waves of resignations in health care, leaving some areas struggling with a system that is "degrading, increasingly unsafe, and often without dignity."
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Source: MedicalXpress, 17 June 2022