Friday, December 2, 2011

Measuring Access Delayed and Denied

I have anecdotal evidence that timely access to medical care during labour and delivery is sometimes delayed and sometimes denied in BC. I have news articles about these cases and I have the conversations that I have had with other moms. I have some evidence that access to some services is significantly lower in BC than in other parts of the country (for example, the use of epidurals in BC is 30 percent compared to 60 percent in the rest of the country).

I know a problem exists, what I have no real way of knowing is how big of a problem exists. Statistics on how long a person waits for a requested service are not kept. Statistics on requests for services that ultimately didn't happen are not kept. Statistics on services that are bumped by more urgent cases are not kept. As such, I don't know how many other moms in BC are like me - I know that I'm not alone in my experience, but I don't know exactly how not alone I am.

I fear that I am less alone than I should be - I fear that cases like mine, that should be a very rare exception, actually aren't. I fear that quality care is missing for many women. If access delayed and denied was measured, it might be a first step to recognizing that a problem exists, the magnitude of it and moving towards changing it so that patients have a better experience of care.

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