Being a health administrator in Canada is a difficult task because of the intricacies of the Canadian health care system, and these people need to understand where the system has been, and where it is likely to go, in order to make sound decisions for the present and future. The future of health policy in Canada is very much a product of the past, and health care managers need to be aware of this. In the past years, there has been a tendency to forget the link that the past and the future have, and therefore it will be argued in this report that health care administration in Canada needs a return to strategic planning. The method to be used in this planning will involve looking at the direction that health care has taken to get to this point, and then where it is likely to go given its current state and the nation’s desires. Health administrators will need to identify the main issues and concepts that are used to understand health policy in Canada, including the different players whose interests affect how policy is created. This report will specifically discuss the methodology and importance of strategic planning in the public sector policy development, and from this it will be shown that strategic planning in Canadian health administration requires an acknowledgment of the connections between social and health policies, and the way that the Canadian government acts as it challenges attempts to change the health care system.
The Need for a Strategic Plan to Shape the Future of Health Care in Canada
An important theme that has shaped health care in Canada since its inception has been collectivist versus market-based approaches to determining the best policy decisions. There has always been a prevailing notion in Canadian society that the whole is better off if everyone is guaranteed a certain minimum level of health service, but there has always been an element of society that has wanted the free-market to play a greater role, and these sentiments are only getting stronger. These two perspectives are of course in direct competition with each other as a free-market approach would put the burden of paying for care on the individual, and this would exclude many people from receiving the health services that they need. In other words, the market serves to distort the notion of universalized care. It is this dichotomy between public and private which needs to play a vital role in the strategic planning of the future of Canada’s health care system, and steps will need to be taken to appease both sides of the debate. (Stone, 1988).
As it stands now, a large portion of health service in Canada is influenced by the notion of the welfare state – one where the state has a significant role in the provision of health care services. As such, in the course of their strategic planning administrators need to remember that universal health care in Canada is a cherished social service, and most people want this redistributive policy to remain...