Wait times must be reduced

Lengthy hospital waiting times end up costing the system more as conditions worsen or become more complicated

I have read with interest articles about health care and wait times for procedures in British Columbia and Ontario, as I try to remain gracious, maintain a sense of humour and contemplate the impact that becoming politically active and vocal about wait times may have on solving this problem.

I am presently on a six-month waiting list for hip replacement surgery, which means that I am getting around on crutches, patience and the good will of others who see me struggle to go through doors, sit and stand and generally move about.

People rush to help with a helpless look on their faces as they see me struggle. I think to myself, that if these same people would put their collective energies together and make their views known to the decision makers, about how timely care should be, that they could really help people like me by influencing the shortening of wait times. Perhaps their collective efforts and voices directed in this way may make my procedure, and that of others, happen in a few days or weeks rather than a few months.

I cannot help but wonder what more damage may be occurring in having a prolonged wait time, that may in the long run make costs to the medical system even greater.

It is ironic that rationing of operating room time and joint and other medical materials are being limited in the name of saving money, when in the long run, it will cost the system more as medical conditions worsen or become more complicated to remedy while waiting. With an unprecedented number of aging Canadians, and their age-related medical issues, there seems to be a gap and lack of planning to deal with this situation.

Therefore, if people who generously rush to help me open doors would mobilize and take their voice to the decision makers, perhaps myself and others would get their joint replacements or other procedures attended to in a more timely and humane time frame.

Heather Caron