Discover more from RamsayWrites
We don’t have a lack-of-doctors problem. We have a lack-of-access problem.
Hard time finding a family doctor? Scads of them have left town or stopped running clinics. It will get worse. Nearly 20% of Toronto family doctors plan to retire in the next five years. But the problem isn’t too few trained doctors or too many sick Canadians. We can import enough physicians to give every Canadian a family doctor.
In 2014, Dr. Danielle Martin, then from Women’s College Hospital, testified at a US Congressional hearing on the difference between the Canadian and US systems. In one of the great examples of young-female-non-American beats old-white-male-American-senators-at-their-own-game, Dr. Martin, now the head of Family and Community Medicine at the University of Toronto, made one thing clear: Whether you’re a patient or a doctor or a business class flier, it all depends what line you’re in.
Earlier this month, the editorial page editor of The Globe and Mail, Tony Keller, wrote a commentary headed: “Canada has a doctor shortage. But if governments wanted, we could have a doctor surplus.”
“Why not aim,” he wrote, “to bring in and license, say, 10,000 additional primary-care professionals by the end of 2024? And then another 10,000 the following year?.... As a first step, provincial governments need to radically increase the number of residency positions. Last year, Canada had barely more than 1,600 residency spots in family medicine. Why not double that? Why not triple it?.... There’s a whole planet of qualified physicians who want to practise in Canada. And thousands of those foreign-trained doctors are Canadians. They went abroad to places like Ireland or Australia because there are so few seats at medical schools in Canada. Many want to come home...What’s Canada doing in response? Almost everything possible to block their return.”
Indeed, even America is starting to move on the doctor-shortage problem. [link: https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/993693].
I urge you to read Keller’s piece in full. Even in our sclerotic system, I still believe there’s no defense against the force of a new idea. In this case, our lives may depend on it.
1. How airplane legroom got so tight. It’s not just cramming more people onto the plane. Then again, if you were an eccentric trillionaire, you wouldn’t need to worry about that. Speaking of wealth porn and the world’s largest private jets, one of them belongs to a Torontonian.
2. Stay out of the heat. With the temperature in the water off Florida’s coast reaching 101°Fahrenheit, we Canadians have to pivot from living in one of the coldest countries in the world to one where it can get unbearably hot. For a nation trained to bundle up against the cold, this will take work. Maybe read this first. On the other side of the wildfire, can your clean-energy startup hold a temperature of 100 million C?
3. Women are redesigning a man’s world. Did you know that most crash test dummies are male? But driving will be safer if cars and seatbelts are designed for women too. It’s starting to happen. But the World Economic Forum claims that entire cities are an unfair environment for women. That too can change. Even matadoras are taking their place in the ring.
4. A doctor ate ultra-processed food for a month. Said Dr. Chris Van Tulleken, “I became very unwell very quickly. I felt terrible. I stopped sleeping. I developed anxiety and became very unhappy.” If this sounds familiar, remember Morgan Spurlock who in 2004 made Super Size Me about eating only McDonald’s food for a month.
5. China plans limiting cell phone usage for kids to 2 hours a day. See what autocracies do that democracies can’t? They can even bar any use between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. There are a few privacy issues, of course, which China worries about less than we do.
7. The world’s largest museum collection of canoes leaves home. The Canadian Canoe Museum moved this month, out of their warehouse closer to the water.
8. When families feud. Jack Schlossberg is President John F. Kennedy’s only grandson. Like many members of that clan, he’s against the candidacy of his cousin, the anti-vaxxer Bobby Kennedy Jr. Unlike the others, he took to Instagram to express his angst.
9. Annals of wokeness. It’s one thing to rename ‘obesity’ because, in the words of the Commission on the Definition and Diagnosis of Clinical Obesity, “it is so stigmatized, with so much misunderstanding and misperception the only solution is to change the name." It’s another to rename nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) because they rely on "exclusionary confounder terms and the use of potentially stigmatizing language."
11. What I’m liking. The Moth is coming to Toronto! This is not news on the level of Taylor Swift. But they have a podcast and a radio hour and if you like true stories told live on stage without scripts, notes, props, or accompaniment, on everything from borrowing the car, to what you can bring to the support group. you’ll get tickets to their show on September 19th at Koerner Hall.