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  • Writer's pictureMatt Gurney

Can you remember the last time health care wasn’t in crisis?

OPINION: I can't remember the last time the system was functioning well. Who knows how bad it'll have to get before somebody does something

Jan 15, 2024


Paramedics bring a patient to the emergency department at a Toronto hospital on July 14, 2022. (Fred Lum/Globe and Mail/CP)

Here’s a (not so) fun question. When was the last time the Canadian health-care system was not in a state of crisis?


Crisis is relative, of course. “Bad,” “crisis,” “struggling” — these are all terms used to describe the state of our health-care system, and all of them are, to an extent, subjective. There are metrics, of course, but even when metrics are bad, there may be pockets of good news in places. This stuff is complicated.


But, still. My question stands: When was the last time the Canadian health-care system — or, yes, pedants, our systems, plural — was functioning well? Can any of you remember?


This past weekend, Global News published an article citing the usual array of top-level experts and sober thinkers. They were asked their thoughts on the state of our health-care systems, and the news is basically uniformly bad. Here’s a smattering of quotes, lifted from the Global article: “Doctors are raising the alarm over [the system’s] ability to stay afloat.” “ER doctors say this season is the worst they’ve ever seen.” “The CMA released a statement Thursday saying unless major systemic changes are made, the problem in emergency departments will keep unfolding. ‘You know, if you talk to any emergency department, we can stand being busy. We don’t mind being busy, but overcrowding kills and that’s what we’re starting to see.’”



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