How’s that universal healthcare working out for you, eh?
That’s because here not as many people go in because they know they can’t afford it.
I’d like to know where you picked up that little tidbit….
I looked up the average emergency room wait times in both the US and Canada, in hopes of eliminating the concern of financial burden on patients, as most US emergency rooms are obligated to treat patients, regardless of their ability to pay. Now, not only did I discover that Canadian hospitals have the longest emergency room wait times in the developed world, but Canadian patients will on average wait four times longer for emergency treatment than Americans.
The importance here is not the wait for specialty care or even the worry: it’s the outcome. Longer waits increase mortality and morbidity. As much as insurance allows, primary care sends patients to specialists. Primary docs also order all the tests they can ahead of time. There’s maybe a 2-7 day wait for most tests; if your doc thinks it’s better you get the CAT scan today, you go the ER. If they think you should see a specialist today and you can’t see one, you go to the ER and the attending in that specialty will see you… eventually. It’s not the best use of the system but you are less likely to die or get sicker. But ideally, the specialist gets the primary’s notes and tests results ahead of an appointment. You get on the schedule quickly, sooner if things are very concerning this way: a) you don’t die waiting for a needed coronary by-pass, b) you don’t let your suspicious pap become Stage IIb Cervical cancer waiting to see the gyn oncologist, c) your renal insufficiency and high blood pressure doesn’t become end-stage renal failure and oops you are on dialysis forever. In Canada (and Australia), you also wait weeks/months for the freaking test along with the appointments so once you see the specialist, definitive treatment can be months to years.
No one is ever, EVER turned away from an ER. In fact, if you show up to an ER that does not have the type or level of care which you need - such as burn care, trauma-level, dental, psych, eye - you will be transported by ambulance or even medivac helicopter when necessary. All will done to ‘err on the side of life’ whether you are someone who appears to be a homeless uninsured 70 year old drug addict or the Queen of bloody England. Same treatment (ok sure, we have a couple inpatient ‘VIP rooms’ in most hospitals for, you guessed it VIPs but also for employees or higher profile people in the community especially if they are in for sensitive reasons).