Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Our proximity to healthcare implosion.

Perhaps the greatest liberty bestowed on Canadians is our access to free healthcare. This privilege draws respect from countries worldwide and is a hallmark of Canadian citizenship. We are not just in jeopardy of losing this privilege, we are free falling towards it’s conclusion. Perhaps the most disturbing part of our race to the bottom is our laissez-fare attitude around understanding the severity of our inaction. Lets take a look here 

  • *Note gun fatalities (deaths amplified the loudest at the highest daily frequency) are at the BOTTOM of the death list with 1 death every 6 days.
  • Conversely health related deaths are occurring at the frequency of 1 death every 13m – 2hrs and hold the top FOUR positions on the death list at over EIGHTY THOUSAND.
Do we shut down a city in an effort to save millions from killing themselves? Do we press criminal charges on parents for aiding and abetting the shortening their children’s life spans? Of course not.

Why don’t we take action? That answer is simple. We don’t need to take action because there is zero accountability around our inaction.

Our health leadership is failing us.

  1. It’s a race to the bottom for everyone who thinks THEY have the silver bullet answer to repairing a broken system. This is not leadership, it’s not even follower-ship. There is no silver bullet solution. We will require a silver buckshot solution and until such time where the researchers, policy makers, marketers, influencers, educators and implementers understand and embrace the need for multiple skill sets to solve this challenge, we will continue to operate in silos & flood the landscape with excellent projects that end up in the great tool graveyard. What’s particularly frustrating is the fact we have the intellectual, social & financial capital to right this ship if we were just able to park the ego’s.
  2. Leadership policies are designed to satiate our instantly gratified society. A four year term is too short to see the deployment of an effective upstream strategy. Our sick care system is reactionary; more beds to take care of more people who are burdening the system (largely) because of their choice of poor health habits. The stats are staggering and the investment borders on negligent. Yet, who has the courage to stand before the people and let it be known we are no longer flogging this generational-dead-horse in order to preserve our future? No one.
  3. It’s all about the money. Not the long term ramifications of the spend, rather the immediate spend. How many times can we hear the phrase, 'how can we justify the investment in upstream prevention when we’re facing the level of crisis that requires our immediate attention'. If we wanted to find the money we could. Banks found a way to charge for convenient cash. Soft drink companies found a way to charge for the containers our sugar is delivered in. Countries find ways to spend billions discovering remote planets,  liberating other countries from tyranny and spare no expense entertaining us. The money we are investing in preventative healthcare is being directed towards way too many self interested - low producing initiatives. We should be less focused on promoting and more focused on affecting.
Our education system is failing us.

  1. There is zero accountability around ensuring physical education is a bonafide pillar of education. Reading, writing & arithmetic are. It would not be acceptable to see a teacher who’s not proficient at math delivering a math class. It would not be acceptable for Johhny to jot a pile of incorrectly spelled words with no particular context in an essay and receive an A in writing.  
  2. There is zero accountability around teaching physical literacy. 99% of all preventable issues begin with education and Canada, with all of it’s promise and prospect cannot align it’s provinces to agree to ONE consistent curriculum around physical literacy. There’s only 10 of us + 3 territories... but we need to be different in the interest of? We’re not even being different well, case in point our failing grade in terms of the report card on our children’s health.
  3. There is zero accountability over those charged with the implementation of the curriculum we have created. No individualized baseline metric, accompanying progressive program and then subsequent reevaluation of the baseline metric to determine progress. Instead, physical health education curriculum is being delivered more & more by generalist teachers which means we are rolling the dice when it comes to our children’s health education.
We are failing ourselves

  1. When we do not pay our taxes, there are consequences. When we drive excessively fast, drunk or recklessly, there are consequences. When we intentionally bring harm to others in a manner that jeopardizes their safety, there are consequences. Yet, there are no consequences for living an unhealthy life and stealing from a broken system.
  2. We defect responsibility. I vote my leadership in to.... I pay my educators to... I pay our coaches to... Parents fly into the school in a nano-second to debate that low mark on reading, writing or arithmetic, yet there’s no rush to the physical education teacher? Why? Because mom & dad are inherently aware of their child’s attitude & aptitude relating to healthy habits after all, THEY have been modeling the behavior. On an individual level we pay into the multi BILLION dollar lottery called the fitness gizmo industry searching for the magic pill & easy way. Ample stats prove, that doesn't work either. 
  3. We’re a nation of well intentioned talkers. We’re RIDING the elephant in the room and have it all figured out... right up to the point of action. It’s not what we know. It’s what we do with what we know and historically we will not take action until we reach crisis mode. Are we not there yet?
    • 1 in 3 Canadian children are overweight
    • Millions of unhealthy people are entering their ‘golden years’  
    • Countries, provinces, communities & businesses are going broke. 
       It’s time to shut our mouths (literally & figuratively speaking), lace up and start moving.
Healthy living cannot be optional. The statistics indicate the growing majority are choosing unhealthy lifestyles over healthy ones. This is unsustainable and at many levels unacceptable. If we are not able to manage the issue on our own accords, it’s obvious we need an intervention of accountability. Nothing else will save our system. Nothing else will preserve the privilege of free Canadian healthcare.

We need accountability and we need it now.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

One of the fundamental problems of the entire system is our inability to move our focus out past 4 years. Realistically, when we do that, look down the road 10 or 15 years, the answers are all obvious. This comes right from the top with a system of government that is only accountable for 4 years, if they are even accountable at all. Individually, we rarely make a long term plan and almost never take into account long term consequences to our actions.