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Hypochondriacs, not wait times ruining Canadian health care, say many readers

Categories: Canada, Community, Health

Would you change anything about Canada's health-care system? Share your thoughts in the comments below. (Shutterstock)

Canada may rank last in terms of how quickly people can see their family doctors, but the number of hypochondriacs draining the health-care system is a much more distressing problem, say many readers.

In a new health care quality survey of 11 OECD countries, Canada ranked last, showing "where a person lives does matter," according to the Health Council of Canada.

The survey found between 31 per cent and 46 per cent of Canadians say they can get a same-day or next-day appointment when needed -- worse than in the U.S. where 48 per cent of Americans say they can can get those appointments, a CBC article summarizes.

Although the results about wait times sparked much debate on and CBC's Facebook page, many people suggested hypochondriacs -- people who obsess over their health and believe they have an illness even when they don't -- take up so much of their doctors' time that actual sick patients find it difficult to get appointments.

  • "My wife is a [registered nurse] and has worked in several [doctor] offices. Her view is that many Calgarians are hypochondriacs, taking up the doctor's time with minor problems. Add in the neurotic mothers who are convinced their child has allergies or ADHD and the doctor is kept pretty busy," writes TheBrit.

  • "How many people run to emergency for non-emergency issues, or to their family [doctor] for the same?" writes Heidi Jon-Paolo Carfa on CBC's Facebook page. "It's a snowball -- constant slowing down and draining the system. People need common sense. My parents didn't run us to the ER for every cough and flu. It's insane!"

  • "People need to stop going to the ER or family doctor for every little sniffle and cough. I'm a nurse who has worked in a walk-in/family practice office and have seen the total waste of health care dollars on people who come in with a cough, runny nose or because they think they are constipated," writes Sue Moore on Facebook. "Our system cannot sustain this misuse."

Regardless, wait times for doctors are lacking across the country, say readers, who were not short on stories from their own personal experiences.

People shared their own tales -- good and bad -- of what health care is like in their communities:

  • "Its tough to find a doctor who is taking new patients in Winnipeg. I'm lucky, I can usually get in to my doctor the same week I call," writes Laurie Mark on Facebook.

  • "[New Brunswick] is worse. Waiting for a doctor more than three years. No hope," writes Sil63.

  • "Live In Creston, B.C. [and] presently cannot even get an appointment with a doctor here, on a waiting list, emergencies looked at a local hospital. Lived in Alberta until three months ago -- pretty much the same situation. The health-care system in place needs to be evaluated," writes jo.

  • "I live in rural Manitoba. We have a revolving door of doctors here -- they come for two years and then leave. I do not have a doctor, nor do my friends; we all see a doctor, but it could be a different one each time you go. ... Our health-care system is OK, it is not bad, not great, but really it is not bad at all," writes North_of_53.

  • "In Victoria many of us don't even have a doctor. I haven't had one for about four years since mine retired. No one is taking new patients," writes Lori Brienesse-Frank.

  • "If I need to see a doctor, I have to take half a day (or an entire day) off work to line up and wait at walk-in clinics that provide such a useless drive-through service," writes Jub Jub. "I am better off using Dr. Google to diagnose my problems."

  • "The way I see it, if we are last of the 11 countries I think we are doing pretty good. We can improve for sure, but hundreds more countries are behind us," writes Mario Rumengan.

Would you change anything about Canada's health-care system? Have you had a good or bad experience with finding a family doctor? Share your thoughts below.

Tags: Canada, Community Reaction, Health

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