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CMA President Dr. Anne Doig: “the system is imploding…more precarious than perhaps Canadians realize”

The incoming President of the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) Dr. Anne Doing warned: “the system is imploding, we all agree that things are more precarious than perhaps Canadians realize…”

Canadian Press: Overhauling health-care system tops agenda at annual meeting of Canada’s doctors…

Dr. Anne Doig says patients are getting less than optimal care and she adds that physicians from across the country – who will gather in Saskatoon on Sunday for their annual meeting – recognize that changes must be made.

“We all agree that the system is imploding, we all agree that things are more precarious than perhaps Canadians realize,” Doing said in an interview with The Canadian Press.

“We know that there must be change,” she said. “We’re all running flat out, we’re all just trying to stay ahead of the immediate day-to-day demands.”

The pitch for change at the conference is to start with a presentation from Dr. Robert Ouellet, the current president of the CMA, who has said there’s a critical need to make Canada’s health-care system patient-centred. He will present details from his fact-finding trip to Europe in January, where he met with health groups in England, Denmark, Belgium, Netherlands and France.

His thoughts on the issue are already clear. Ouellet has been saying since his return that “a health-care revolution has passed us by,” that it’s possible to make wait lists disappear while maintaining universal coverage and “that competition should be welcomed, not feared.”

In other words, Ouellet believes there could be a role for private health-care delivery within the public system.

More: Quebec doctors lead charge for private health care…

Michel Desrosiers has just emerged from the comfortable Avenir MD clinic, which looks nothing like a typical doctor’s office. There are white and chocolate leather reading chairs in the waiting room, along with an espresso machine and snacks.

It’s different because it’s private.

More important, though, Desrosiers came to have an abscess on his cheek looked at because he was worried it was cancerous, and to have it removed within a week by a private dermatologist.

Doing the same in the public system would take months, he says.

Asked if this is the future of family medicine, the 64-year-old Desrosiers replies, “Unfortunately, yes.”