Monday, January 4, 2016

Canada's healthcare system in an unenviable disrepair, a broken palliative care system and now Euthanasia?

By Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

On December 30, Canada's National Post published two articles concerning Canada's healthcare system. 

An article by Kristy Kirkup explains how the euthanasia debate has exposed a "dark secret" that Canada's palliative care system is inadequate while the article by Brian Rotenberg asks Canadians to examine what medical services should continue to be paid for by the government.

Together, these articles should caution Canadians and urge governments, at all levels, to reject the legalization of euthanasia and assisted suicide.

The first article is based on a soon-to-be released report by Gabriel Miller, the public issues director with the Canadian Cancer Society. Miller is hoping that the euthanasia debate will lead to a greater commitment to palliative care across Canada. Kirkup reports:
“There are thousands of terminally ill Canadians who are not getting the right kind of care,” Miller said. “That’s causing patients and families unnecessary suffering and it is costing the health-care system precious resources.” 
Miller is urging the federal Liberal government, along with its provincial and territorial counterparts, to capitalize on the chance to ensure Canadians have universal access to better, affordable end-of-life care.
“We finally have a moment to pull this problem out of the shadows and solve it,” he said. 
“That’s the importance of the broader debate that’s unfolding right now. It is a chance to confront a broken system for end-of-life care and make a lasting reform.”
The second is an opinion article written by Rotenberg who is an expert advisor with the Evidence Network. Rotenberg states that Canadians will need to make hard choices:
All across Canada, provincial governments are grappling with ever-growing health-care demands, in the face of shrinking resources. Our enviable publicly funded health system is now in a downward spiral of unenviable disrepair. As patients are becoming more knowledgeable about their own care, and as doctors develop a wider array of options available to treat diseases, the costs are increasing. 
The truth is that we can’t have it all. Both the physicians who deliver care and the patients who receive it need to start considering how best to manage the limited resources in our publicly funded health-care system.
The paradox is clear. Even if there is political goodwill, governments, at all levels cannot fix the "broken end-of-life care system" in a healthcare system that is "in a downward spiral of unenviable disrepair."

On February 6, 2014; the Supreme Court struck down Canada's laws that protected people from euthanasia and assisted suicide

At sometime in the future, will Canadians feel obligated to "choose" to die?

Governments, at all levels, must reject the legalization of euthanasia and assisted suicide and recognize it as a pandora's box that cannot be controlled, especially within our "broken end-of-life care system that is within our healthcare system that is in unenviable disrepair.

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