By Letter to the Editor on April 25, 2020.
Gwyn Morgan’s piece (“System ill-prepared for crisis,” April 14) offers his opinion that Canada’s health-care system “is one of the least prepared to deal with the crisis” of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the solution is greater involvement from private for-profit health care.
Throughout his article, he is focused on the issue of hospital bed counts, which is only one part (albeit a very important part) of the “health-care system.” Our “system” also includes family practitioners, community-based health-care professionals as well as those leading the broad public health interventions that we are all very familiar with. All have played a critical role in Canada’s pandemic response.
Current statistics comparing Canada’s pandemic response to other Western countries which allow more for-profit health care (namely, Germany, Italy, Spain, France, the United Kingdom and the U.S.) do not support Morgan’s dire claims (https://newsinteractives.cbc.ca/coronaviruscurve/ and https://virusncov.com/). Thirty-seven days have passed since Canada’s 100th case. Compared to the other six countries on their day 37 and adjusted for population (population figures available elsewhere) Canada has fewer cases and has been more successful in “flattening the curve.” Canada’s death rate is close to Germany’s at day 37, but substantially lower than any of the remaining five countries.
Morgan urges that we must “É demand that Canada’s hopelessly dysfunctional and dangerous government-monopoly health-care system be opened to private-sector competition.” Current facts do not support his conclusion. On the contrary, they provide a strong evidence in favour of our health-care system. Our system, and all of the world-class professionals working within it, deserve our deepest gratitude and should be applauded.
Yes, we need to examine issues of supply chain management, the sourcing and distribution of vital equipment, the resourcing of hospitals and how policy changes by governments might better protect the public. But there is no evidence from the current data that we need more for-profit health care.