A Broken System

  

  I get angry every time I go to the outpatient center for services.  I am sure I do not understand everything that goes on there, but it is hard to see three or four people being paid to chat and joke with each other when I am told there is no funding for the treatment I need.  Don’t they realize how inefficient the system looks from the users point of view?  Do they understand that the salary of one of those administrative workers could pay for private treatment of 5 people in need?  
    I have been fortunate enough to connect with a couple of non profit organisations that have provided some of the help I have been looking for.  In all cases, they have been efficient, timely and kind.  They have always been very clear about who I needed to talk to and what I needed to do.  They have always provided follow up, also.  An example is this week. After helping me access a government social program, I thought the non profit’s involvement was done.  They had gone above and beyond already in my eyes to make the whole process as easy as possible.  They called me though and let me know they were still helping and would be setting up an appointment to complete forms that I would have to fill out once I am in this particular program.  In contrast, when I tried to do the same thing in the public health system, everyone I talked to sent me to see someone else.  In the end I spent almost a month to get nowhere while it took only a week for the non profit to have everything set up. 
    Unfortunately this does not seem to be the exception to the rule.  The non profits seem to do a much better job at providing services with fewer resources.  While the non profits are client focused, the public health system seems to be administrative focussed.  The system is a maze that is hard enough for the people that work in it to navigate.  It is nearly impossible for patients to navigate.  The fact that they need positions called Health Navigators should be a clue that something may be wrong. 
   I am forced to rely on this system for my treatment, though.  While the non profits offer excellent and very valuable services, they are limited to social and employment services for the most part.  Meanwhile, the government of BC adds layer after layer of beauracracy to the public mental health and addictions system to try to fix it.  The system just seems to get farther and farther removed from the reality of the people living with these illnesses.  It would be great if the government would recognize these organizations that are working well and try to emulate them.  Imagine how much more good could be done in an organization run as effeciently as the non profits but with the resources the public system has.  Imagine the lives that could be saved if care was provided by a system that was actually patient focussed.  

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