Red tape can cause many problems in certain circumstances, especially when it affects vital industrial production. One particular situation involves doctors in Manitoba as outlined in a recent report.  

Candian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) Director of Provincial affairs Brianna Solberg explains doctors in Manitoba are spending over 591,000 hours a year on unnecessary administrative work. It's all outlined in the 'Patients Before Paperwork' report.

"Those unnecessary tasks are essentially red tape," says Solberg. "It's work that could be done by someone other than a doctor or work that would be eliminated entirely. So, we have estimated that, if we were to reduce 10 per cent of that unnecessary burden on doctors, we could create the equivalent of 177,000 patient visits. That's critical in an era of chronic shortages of healthcare professionals and aging population, and just the capacity constraints that we've seen on our healthcare system."

Solberg explains that a solution seems to be found in what's taking place eastward.

"Our report builds on the findings of an innovative study that was done in Nova Scotia," continues Solberg. "Nova Scotia had set a target to reduce their burden by 10 per cent by 2024, with the goal of bringing up 50,000 hours of physician time a year. They were looking to shorten or eliminate specific forms, streamline outdated processes, and just looking for ways they could save doctors' time. CFIB recognized Nova Scotia's work in this area with our annual Golden Scissors Award last year for Red Tape Reduction. So, our report, basically, just extrapolates the numbers from Nova Scotia and says, 'Hey, that's how much time doctors are spending on paperwork there. We can infer that this is how much time they're spending on paperwork in other jurisdictions.' All governments should be committing to this 10 per cent reduction target in order to free up more patient visits."

She notes even a small reduction in doctors' administrative burdens will see a positive impact on the lives of millions of Canadians. Solberg explains their report showed 18.5 million hours that physicians are spending on paperwork across the country altogether.

"We get it that red tape reduction is not a silver bullet here," adds Solberg. "It's not going to solve all the healthcare challenges that we're facing, but we think it's a great place to start."