This is what we’re all expected to believe: if you cut the funding from hospitals and give it to community-based care, our health system will become more effective and sustainable.
The people who say hospitals should be nothing but acute care centers appear to be winning the debate on health care reform despite a lack of evidence to support their views. Those of us who suggest otherwise are quickly labelled dinosaurs.
Even the warm and friendly Canadian Centre of Policy Alternatives appears to be getting in on the act, suggesting in their federal alternative budget that as long as the community services remain not-for-profit, all will be well. They recommend an increasing share of federal transfers should be used to enhance primary and community-based care, not to support hospitals.
When we think about expensive hospitals, we think about beds.
And yet, the CCPA acknowledges that Canada already has the highest rate of day surgery in the world – an average of 87 per cent of all surgeries.
They point out that hospitals have only increased slightly as a percentage of spending relative to the size of the economy, from 3 per cent in the 1970s to 3.4 per cent in 2009. That’s more than 30 years.