Healthcare is one of the most important public functions of the government, mainly because it affects the lives of people directly. Generally, healthcare involves treatment, maintenance, and prevention of illness; and in government settings, it involves organized provision of medical care to individuals and the society using health professionals by either the government or the private health care givers. The main role of health professionals is to ensure the preservation, maintenance, and restoration of both physical and mental health of individuals in the society. The healthcare system adopted by the government involves the use of different health practitioners and professionals to ensure that primary, secondary, and tertiary healthcare is provided to all people in the society. In most cases, health care provision in a country always depends on the existing economic and social health policies. Indeed, effectiveness of healthcare system will be determined by the soundness of health care policies drawn by the country as well as the effectiveness of their implementation.
Healthcare interventions and programs are among the methods and ways that governments always use in the promotion of the general health and wellbeing of their citizens (Rovere & Barua, 2012). On the other hand, sustainability is the property and ability to keep something in existence for long without causing negative effects to the environment and people. Therefore, sustainability of healthcare is the ability to support health services of a country for a long time in order to ensure the society continues enjoying healthy living, both mental and physical without negative effects created to the environment and surroundings. Again, in order for long-term sustainability of healthcare, it is usually important for health care providers and professionals to deliver healthcare services using appropriate resources, with the aim of meeting health needs of the targeted group in the society (Jesmin, Thind, & Sarma, 2012). This paper will discuss health care policies and plans that are put in place to meet health needs of individuals in Canada.
Health Care Issues In Canada
According to statistics and research publications, the main aims, objectives and goals of healthcare provision is to ensure good health and wellbeing to the society through fair and proper capital and financial distribution and contribution. Continuous healthcare provision and quality of health care system provided are also very important. Canada is one of the major and upcoming countries in terms of development. Despite this, it is one of the countries without a well-organized private payment for most of services delivered through the public sector and system including health. This has made it important for the adoption of private payment for health care services in Canada (Barua, & Esmail, 2013).
Canada Health Care Policies and Frame Works
Canada has a health policy that ensures healthcare accessibility to all patients and individuals in the society without extra payment by the individuals. In this system, all provinces in Canada are given the responsibility and role to deliver and offer health services to individuals in the society, while the federal government plays the role of paying for the health services offered. Therefore, in this case, the federal government helps in payment of health services by giving about 22% support to each province from the total revenue and health budget, while the province governments foot the remaining percentage of health care bill (Rovere & Barua, 2012).
Canada Health Care Challenges
Healthcare in Canada is facing various challenges, among them being the sustainability issue raised by provincial governments. Their complaint is that the Canadian healthcare policy consumes around 45% of their total expenditure, and therefore calls for the federal government to improve sustainability in order to maintain health services provision in the country. In this problem, one of the changes that have been proposed in Canada to ensure continuous healthcare is the need for private payment of health care services offered. This proposal calls for segmentation of the healthcare system in order to enhance equity in service delivery. Therefore, for proper sustainability of health care services in Canada, the proposal finds it important to allow those who are willing to pay privately for health care to do so (Rovere, & Barua, 2012). However, those who cannot afford should continue receiving subsidized treatment from the government.
According to Tuokko, et al. (2013), around 80% of Canadians were satisfied with the healthcare system provided, although they agreed that some challenges and problems were still there. For example, most of the families in Canada do not have family health care provider, and in some cases of certain diseases, they always have to wait long in lines in order to get health services, especially in hospitals that are run by the federal government (Tuokko, et al., 2013). However, due to these challenges, it has been proposed that the health care services in Canada will not be sustainable unless the public is allowed to pay for own health services in some cases (Jesmin, Thind, & Sarma, 2012).
Tuokko, et al. (2013) also notes that lack of enough funds to sustain health care sector in Canada is likely to cause more problems in future. Some of the causes of these health care problems and difficulties in sustainability include the aging population, which is increasing at a very high rate. According to Ontario Action Plan for Health Care (2012), the demographic shift from baby boomers to senior citizens, as well as fiscal challenges is likely to stretch the current health care system to unsustainable level. Again, there is availability of new and more improved treatment methods including drugs, which the government has not invested in, thus making the health care provision more expensive. In addition, there is also emergence of new disease diagnosis procedures for some chronic diseases that have been quite challenging to the economic growth of the country. Besides, it has been found that health care challenges and problems in Canada have some significant effect on education and other sectors such as infrastructure.
Therefore, there is need for more to be done in order to ensure universal healthcare provision and sustainability of other services, including government spending on health care services to the people. Indeed, more logic and rationality should be used in the funding of health care services in order to enhance sustainability of health services in Canada. Again, there is need for ethical consideration on what needs to be funded by the government and what needs to be privately funded by individuals themselves (Tuokko, et al., 2013).
Health Care Access in Canada
In Canada, there are homecare health services, health professionals, and drug therapies used in provision of health care services. The importance and role of these is to provide citizens with good lifestyle and healthy living, especially when the performance of health sector is improved. In provision of healthcare to individuals, it is important to consider environmental health issues such as availability of clean and pure water, food, and air in the surroundings. Again, the issue of basic healthcare needs should be considered such as immunizations, and if possible, preventive measures should be taken against diseases. Lastly, it is important to consider the issue of medically important issues and health promotion systems to enable the government to provide good services to all. This may involves proper understanding and mitigation of new and dangerous diseases such as cancer, and provision of lifestyle drugs to promote health (Rovere, & Barua, 2012).
Optimal health is also necessary in Canada to enable the country to provide treatments such as genetic testing and sports medicine programs, including therapies that can mitigate future genetic risks and personalized wellbeing of individuals. Due to enhanced economic development, this will ensure that the society reaches optimization level in relation to health care services offered (LeBien, 1996).
Various research studies have ranked Canada among the countries that offer the best medical care worldwide. This is mainly attributed to the commitment of federal government and the provinces to offering quality health care to the society in Canada. This means that health care is one of the sectors that Canadian government has given priority in, and has devoted a large share of government funding in order to ensure its sustainability. This is also due to the fact that the society and the government feel that healthcare should be given the first priority in the country ahead of other sectors like education and even economy and environment (Tuokko, et al., 2013).
Information from some health care providers and practitioners in Canada about the health care provision system showed that, due to large aging population and financial problems in health care system, the country is likely to face challenges regarding health provision services being offered by the Canadian government (Aubry, Farrell, Hwang, & Calhoun, 2013). Therefore, it is important that the Canadian government should consider revising its healthcare policy to accommodate the aspect of declining number of baby boomers, and providing guidelines on how the potential increase in demand of healthcare services will be addressed. This should be taken as the main goal and objective in Canada, rather than the acute care and patient issues in order to transform the healthcare sector. In addition, there is rising health care costs in Canada, which make it very difficult for proper provision of health care services. In most cases, the health of a population marjory depends on economic and social factors, thus calling for more effort to ensure that more money is used in the improvement of economic and social factors affecting the society rather than using a lot of money to fund health care services (Tuokko, et al., 2013).
Moreover, for proper sustainability of health care services, it is necessary that proper and enough resources be availed in the provision of health care services (Ontario Action Plan for Health Care, 2012). It is also important for health care services to be delivered through the use of private institutions, but funding be done through public finances, as research has shown that this can be beneficial to all. In addition, innovation, creativity, and flexibility should be allowed to enable more ideas to be generated to support health care services in the country (Esmail & Palacios, 2012). Again, more knowledge development and better health care practices should be adopted to enable the system to be more patient and individual-centered. It is also observed that, health services provision through homes and community health workers coupled with modern technology around the country will ensure that maximum and effective health care is delivered (Esmail & Palacios, 2012).
It is also important that patients and the society be involved in the decision-making programs and policy planning of the issues concerning health care services. This will be a departure from the past where health providers were the main decision makers concerning all health care issues, programs and frameworks. This will promote health care system, as the citizens will be included in the decision-making process, thereby enhancing transparency and accountability towards health issues in the country. This participation and active involvement of the citizens will ensure that patients’ emotional and physical needs are put into consideration every time health care is delivered to them (LeBien,1996).
It is also important that the country and the government consider improving the quality of health services through involving transformation in the culture of health care providers and other health care professionals by ensuring accountability and transparency in the working frameworks of the healthcare services.
Use of Communication and Information Technology
If possible, due to technological changes and environmental diversity, it is also very crucial to use modern technology in communication and information provision to promote health care services in the country (Esmail & Palacios, 2012). This will improve the quality of health care services and ensure transformation of health and lifestyle of Canadians. Besides, the use of modern information technology will allow health care providers and other practitioners in health care related sectors to speed-up information gathering and quickly share information concerning health; this will aid in improving the quality of life and health in the society. Due to health difficulties that elderly people in Canada face, it is also important that health care of the old and the aging population be given priority in order to promote their physical, psychological, and emotional needs. Therefore, the current policy, which does not provide more support to the elderly, needs to be changed to ensure that the aging population is considered in providing them with healthy living conditions and more health care provision at their homes and in their nearby community health centers (Jesmin, Thind & Sarma, 2012).
Furthermore, it is also important for the Canadian government to look into the inclusion of social housing and mental health care services, in order to ensure society health care issues are covered and dealt with appropriately (LeBien, 1996).
Use of Preventive Measures and Healthy Lifestyle
People should be encouraged to adopt health life system whereby prevention procedures such as the use of health lifestyle and proper dietary can be promoted to reduce chances of disease occurrences in the country. Individuals should also accept the sad and true reality that death is inevitable and everyone will all die one time. Hence, there is need for more health prevention measures to health to enable individuals stay longer and avoid death cases that occurs due to carelessness and other reckless behaviors and irresponsibility (Jesmin, Thind, & Sarma, 2012).
It is important for the sick and those who have problems to accept that the problem exists. Indeed, psychologist suggest acceptance of the problem as the first step in the provision of a solution to any problem that affects human beings. From that acceptance of the problem, it will then be easier to solve the impending problem without many complications. In addition, since citizens are among the financers that provide source of capital that is used in the health care services provision, it is important that their input be considered in major decisions-making processes, especially where the community and the society health care provision is affected. Their views and ideas may be more important specifically in services like social housing and even the design of an urban health center (Jesmin, Thind, & Sarma, 2012).
Health care providers, health care professionals, and other health care practitioners need to adopt dialogue procedures and research widely in order to ensure that health care issues and information are widely gathered and addressed accordingly. Implementation and planning of health care policies and programs is also critical in the provision of the best services to all the people in Canada (LeBien, 1996).
Canada Comparisons with United States
Healthcare system and provision from one country is always different from another when comparison is made internationally. This is because different countries are demographically different and are endowed differently in terms of finances and resources. However, every country’s goal is to provide quality health care to its citizens in order to foster healthy living and productivity. Therefore, all health policies tend to be molded around this motive of quality health care. The major difference between United States (U.S) and Canada healthcare is that Canada healthcare system and service is universal to all unlike in U.S. Again, the health care system in Canada is very less costly compared to the health care in the US; this is due to the difference in policies that guide the two countries’ health care sector (Esmail, & Palacios, 2012). Another difference is that Canadian government tends to contribute a higher percentage of total health care spending than the US government. However, in terms of per capita spending, the US spends more than Canada (World Health Organization, 2012).
Some of the important recommendations that the Canadian government need to make include proper provision of health care services involving both primary care system and secondary health care delivery. This will help in resolving health related issues in Canada and lead to more advanced and improved healthcare services in the society. If possible, it will be very ethical and professional if interdisciplinary family healthcare groups are involved in the provision of the primary health care in the society. This can later be expanded to the provinces and the country at large. Moreover, these interdisciplinary family health care groups should also be properly trained and equipped with proper knowledge and ideas on how to manage the public and patients that they will deal with.
Again, the Canadian government should invest heavily in modern technology to promote health care services in the country and provinces. This is due to the fact that, the contemporary health environment is becoming more technical, especially with the innovation and introduction of sophisticated technologies related to health care. Indeed, technology will eliminate the shortcomings and limitations of the existing systems, especially in diagnosis and treatment functions. Research and development should also be enhanced in order to enhance service delivery including medication and diagnostic processes. Moreover, technology will improve sharing of information and knowledge across all healthcare networks. Health care providers will also be able to get information from patients and even from the society with ease, hence lead to improving health care services to the larger community (Rapoport, et al., 2013).
In addition, there is need for reforms in compensation provided to health workers and other professionals in order to make them work efficiently and effectively in provision of services to patients in hospitals and other health care centers. Here, compensation should include incentives based on the services delivered to the sick rather than being based on treatment and consultation. This will make the health workers and health professionals to be more accountable for the services rendered; hence resulting into better services (Rovere & Barua, 2012). Moreover, compensation on merit should also be considered in order to reward those perform excellently, as this will act as a motivation factor to the improvement of overall performance in the country’s healthcare system.
Another important recommendation to the Canadians government is to put more focus on promoting healthier lifestyle and wellness to the people as this will enable the country and the government to spend less money on health care services. This could be done through community awareness programs and education on ways to prevent the spread of controllable diseases as well as lifestyle diseases. This should be encouraged to cover all the families, communities and the whole country (Rapoport, et al., 2013).
Besides, it is also important that the government should build systems that promote transparency and accountability in healthcare provision (Ontario’s Action Plan for Health Care, 2012). This should also entail provision of proper management and performance monitoring by the health workers and other health care professions. Effective healthcare systems will also enable the various stakeholders relating to health care to be more ethical and considerable in provision of health care services. Moreover, with the balance of power tending to shift to people through social media, thanks to technological advancement, care professions and experts should as well embrace the use of social media in order to mobilize people to adopt better health care lifestyle at all times. This will aid in disseminating valuable information about preventing chronic diseases and leading to long and healthy life (Fried & Gaydos, 2012).
The above discussion has detailed the provision of health care services in Canada and its sustainability. Canada has a sound healthcare policy that enhances universal health care provision. Normally, implementation of this policy is done by province governments, with the federal government acting as the financier of the health care services provided. However, various issues emanate from this system, especially in relation to private payment for most of services delivered through the public sector and system – this is not well organized. Proposal is also fronted to allow private payment of medical services for those who can afford and are willing to do so, as this would boost service delivery as well as promote growth in healthcare sector.
Canada boasts of having homecare health services, health professions, and drug therapies, all working towards enhancing healthy living to all citizens. However, one challenge that is shaking the healthcare sector in Canada is lack of sufficient funding to enhance sustainability. Therefore, recommendation is made to increase investment in healthcare through adoption of new technology, as well as through research and development. Moreover, adoption of private payment of health care service delivery would enhance private investment in health care thus increasing diversification in provision of health care. Nevertheless, the role played by the Canadian government in healthcare is very significant and it is actually the reason why the country’s healthcare system is considered so strong compared to other systems internationally.
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