Financial instability, a growing constant in commercial activities since World War II, has embarked on a path of unpredictable and accelerating variables.
As the most recent and rather murky events in Cyprus have clearly demonstrated, uncertainty and instability are the prevailing keynotes at this time. Aside from continuing unreasonable and punitive taxation, beginning with parking meters in our cities, to the promotion and sale of bad paper by major financial institutions, this trend will eventually impoverish everyone.
Unfortunately these events impact healthcare from many perspectives. Ideally a high level response should be everyone’s right, however, we must consider who will pay for this right? Like untying the gorgonian knot, no one is in the position to answer this question at this time. Despite this, we remain trapped in a downward spiral. Diminishing incomes among the masses, rising costs and higher penalties are the order of the day. Unless dramatic and positive change occurs to reverse this trend, it will engulf everyone over the next decade or perhaps even sooner. The poor will not become rich, the middleclass will disappear and the rich will become poor. Neither rhetoric nor adversely inflaming the masses will bring crucial change to this scenario.
Currently there is no strong leadership existing in the individual countries and the world governments, which enlarge without cessation struggling to survive with a shrinking tax base. Rhetoric notwithstanding, they are currently unable to fund themselves and have no evident solutions other than printing more money and thereby further debasing their own currencies and increasing their debt load.
One change that should be considered, and is probably the simplest in the long-term, is the improvement of educational systems. At this stage moral values and standards of integrity can be instilled at the formative level. However, this can only be accomplished when the funding, monitoring and mentoring of teachers enables them to move forward in this direction.
All those engaged in delivering healthcare appear to be more concerned about compensation codes than ensuring that healthcare will be delivered in a prompt effective manner. This has created another maelstrom of confusion deliberately infusing a level of conflict between physician and patient that is unprecedented.
Governments are increasingly focused on diminishing and restricting healthcare provisions, along with their budgets, further inducing instability into the system. In this current of negative forces, the patient often floats on a sea of despair, particularly when emergency care is required. Again, no bureaucratic resolutions are apparent on the horizon. Leadership to reverse this course must be found and implemented immediately.