All Together Healthy: A Canadian Wellness Revolution
Reviewed by Johny Van Aerde, MD
Do you have limited time and want to read only the best and most recent publications on what makes us unhealthy and what stresses the Canadian health care system the most? If so, All Together Healthy by Andrew MacLeod, a journalist from Victoria, is the book for you. Well written and easy to read, the book is an integrated compilation of not only the data on socioeconomic contributors to population unhealth, but also the historical context of Canadian politics and reports by Romanow, Epp, Naylor, and Lalonde among others.
After addressing the better known effects of living conditions, wealth status, and the environment on health and well-being in the first chapters, MacLeod makes interesting connections between underlying societal ailments and mental health, and between tent cities and the current crisis of substance abuse.
In the final chapters he makes the reader think deeply by asking who is responsible for population health: is it the physicians, hospitals, health authorities, public health departments, governments, patients, or citizens? He surmises that, while our health care system is structured so that physicians’ top priority is providing and advocating quality care for each patient, population health should be the responsibility of all. Top
MacLeod shows the reader that the culture of disease is embedded in the structure, politics, and economy of our Canadian society and health care system. The health industry benefits from idolizing illness, and the public is unwilling to change its beliefs and perception that health means having the latest technology, more hospital beds, and the newest medication. On that basis, politicians have to make decisions to satisfy the public and the industry, while the media sensationalize the many non-evidenced technological breakthroughs. As a result, those decisions and beliefs maintain health disparities and prevent resources from being invested in population well-being.
This book is a must read for every physician, health care provider, politician, patient, and indeed every Canadian citizen. The only distraction of the book is its subtitle, A Canadian Wellness Revolution as the evidence clearly demonstrates that there will be no wellness revolution in Canada soon. Top
Related resources about the Canadian health care system
•Advisory Panel on Healthcare Innovation. Unleashing innovation: excellent healthcare for Canada. Ottawa: Health Canada; 2015. Available: https://tinyurl.com/yypo6kc9 (accessed 5 Jan. 2019).
•Health care in Canada: what makes us sick? Ottawa: Canadian Medical Association; 2013. Available: https://tinyurl.com/y6xfqxrn (accessed 5 Jan. 2019).
•Marmot M. The health gap: the challenge of an unequal world. New York: Bloomsbury Press; 2015.
•Martin D. Better now: six big ideas to improve health care for all. Toronto: Allen Lane; 2017.
•Picard A. The path to health care reform: policy and politics. Ottawa: Conference Board of Canada; 2013.
•Simpson J. Chronic condition: why Canada’s health-care system needs to be dragged into the 21st century. Toronto: Allen Lane; 2012. Top