It’s always surprising to find a British author willing to call their massive National Health Service (NHS) “a monster that we can barely afford”, but that’s exactly what Jeremy Clarkson says in his latest Times column. But that’s merely an aside. The venom in this article is reserved for Canadian healthcare, specifically in Quebec:
Some say America should follow Canada’s lead, where private care is effectively banned. But having experienced their procedures while on holiday in Quebec, I really don’t think that’s a good idea at all.
[. . .]
Now, we are all used to a bit of a wait at the hospital. God knows, I’ve spent enough time in accident and emergency at Oxford’s John Radcliffe over the years, sitting with my sobbing children in a room full of people with swords in their eyes and their feet on back to front. But nothing can prepare you for the yawning chasm of time that passes in Canada before the healthcare system actually does any healthcare.
[. . .]
After a couple of hours, I asked the receptionist how long it might be before a doctor came. In a Wal-Mart, it’s quite quaint to be served by a fat, gum-chewing teenager who claims not to understand what you’re saying, but in a hospital it’s annoying. Resisting the temptation to explain that the Marquis de Montcalm lost and that it’s time to get over it, I went back to the boy’s cubicle
[. . .]
And they also had the cash to employ an army of people to slam the door in your face if you poked your head into the inner sanctum to ask how much longer the wait might be. Sixteen hours is apparently the norm. Unless you want a scan. Then it’s 22 months.
At about 1.30am a doctor arrived. Boy, he was a piece of work. He couldn’t have been more rude if I’d been General Wolfe. He removed the bandages like they were the packaging on a disposable razor, looked at the wound, which was horrific, and said to my friend: “Is it cash or credit card?”