Medical care is a fundamental human right and should be provided for everyone in a dignified manner, the Canadian Medical Association says.
But it is a problem, says the AMA, and it is one that needs to be addressed now.
The AMA’s latest national survey of doctors found that only 40 per cent of physicians across the country said they were familiar with the concept of rationing medical treatment, and just 10 per cent were comfortable with rationing.
More: More than two-thirds of respondents in the survey said they have a patient with an illness or condition that has been treated differently from the rest.
“There’s a need to educate doctors on the impact of this on the patients,” said Dr. Richard G. McPherson, president and CEO of the AMA.
“The medical profession needs to step up and say we’re going to make this change.”
While physicians need to learn more about what rationing means for patients, McPhearson says that they also need to understand that patients have rights and they should be given the right to decide what treatment is best for them.
“The patient has a right to know that, and that the doctor who’s treating them can be held accountable for that decision,” McPhea said.
“You need to be mindful of who’s being consulted, who’s involved in that decision, and what they’re saying and what their motivation is.
That’s a difficult thing to do, especially when it comes to medicine.
We have to be thoughtful about the role of the government in providing care for all Canadians.”
According to the AMA survey, almost two-fifths of doctors surveyed (24 per cent) said that when they had a patient who has a condition that is different from the norm, they should try to find another provider who can treat that condition, but that they were unsure of how that would affect their patient’s treatment.
And, a third of doctors (30 per cent), said that they have patients with chronic diseases that are different from their norm that they do not know about.
More: More:Medical experts said that the AMA poll was a good indicator of where the Canadian medical system stands.
“This is a concern for the entire health care system in Canada,” said M.T. Friesen, chief executive of the Canadian Hospital Association, which represents the nation’s largest hospital groups.
“It indicates that we are struggling in the health care sector to meet the needs of patients.
This is a growing issue.”
For patients, doctors are in a difficult position.
“Physicians are being asked to make tough decisions for patients who are sick and they are being told that if they don’t have the right treatment they will have a very bad outcome,” said Friese.
“And when you don’t do the right thing, then you lose money.”
The AMA survey was conducted from April to October and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.8 per cent.