You make a dinner reservation, but have to wait six months to get in.
Then you arrive on time for your reservation, only to sit there for two hours before getting seated at your table.
You order food. The waiter is rude. Presentation is half-ass. And the dinner leaves a bad taste in your mouth.
You pay through the roof. Didn’t like the food. And wasted your time.
Would you return to a restaurant like that? Would you deal with a business like that? That service is not acceptable.
So why do we accept that from so many doctors in Canada?
Well, I don’t… want to, but there’s really not much choice. It’s like a monopoly, and we’re nothing but dice getting tossed around, hoping to land at least somewhere on the board.
Truth be told, I’m kind of in between doctors right now. I need to find a new GP. My current one is male, and I don’t quite feel comfortable with the lady tests. Not entirely because he’s a he, but he’s also friends with my boyfriend.
Still, it has to be done. And finding a doctor in Toronto seems harder than finding a job.
In 2004, more than one million Ontarians were without a family doctor.
The Ontario Medical Association boasts that there are over 2000 more physicians practising in the province today than in 2004, which is an increase of over eight per cent.
But, oops! What it fails to mention is that the provincial population has also increased by about eight per cent over the past six years.
What’s more, as our population grows and ages, it is in even greater need of general practitioners. So that adds up to fewer doctors than ever before.
And with all the new doctors entering the Ontario workforce, there are actually less GP’s accepting patients today (10 per cent) than over a decade ago (39 per cent).
Beyond the country that is Toronto, numerous underserviced Ontario communities also face challenges for patients with chronic conditions.
Many problems could be solved if treated early, but escalate because the patient is forced to wait too long for a medical appointment. Often, ending up in crisis at the ER. (Remember, “WhERe is the Care?”.)
But, it’s not necessarily that so many sick people are in need of a doctor. You also go to a doctor to maintain your health.
You don’t just brush your teeth because you have cavities; you brush your teeth to prevent cavities.
Doctors are there to provide care, monitor your health, and track changes to it. This is all part of proactive healthcare, and is supposedly part of the foundation for Canada’s universal healthcare.
Admittedly, Dr. Google is always there, and has been helpful, but whenever I see Dr. G., all of the sudden I find I present symptoms of every disease known to man.
My apologies for this sarcasm, it is so unlike me… usually I’m much more sarcastic. It’s just that I’m actually pretty anxious right now, and perhaps that’s tarnishing this article.
You see, I’m preparing for an interview.
This is all new to me. I don’t quite know how to do it. Should I bring my resume? How should I dress? Should I do my nails?
I’ve never had an interview – with a doctor before. Yes, I’m interviewing to become a patient.
I know what you’re thinking…
“Dahlia, you’re a writer! You didn’t even go to school to become a patient.”
True. But I don’t have much choice. Times are tough.
Apparently, this doctor-patient interview is all the rage across the country. Doctors want to interview patients to make sure they are the right fit.
And to think I thought that merely being a patient made one a right fit for a doctor.
Oh the hypocrisy of the Hippocratic Oath.
So, how does a doctor judge a good potential patient?
Is it better to have more or less health problems? Is it better to be short or tall? I mean, I do take up less room in the waiting area.
Do you think I should maybe try to sneeze during the interview?
Oh, and if she asks if I eat apples daily, I will say no. Don’t want to be offensive. I know that would be a lie, but I really want this position.
After all, to have patience may be a virtue, but to be a patient is like winning the lottery.
And I can’t wait to be a patient again...
Book that appointment way down the road, arrive on time for it, sit in the waiting room for an eternity surrounded by Chatelaine and Parenting magazines from September 2006, see the doctor for five minutes, and leave feeling unfulfilled - and maybe even a little sicker than I was going in.
But, before I leave, I’ll make sure to book my follow-up appointment, so I can go through that all over again. At least it’s free. Too bad my taxes are sky-high though.
By the way, the other day I had dinner at a horrible restaurant. Service was slow. Food was crap. Never going back. I have no patience for businesses like that.