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As we enter the sixth wave of COVID-19, hospitals are bracing for yet another surge. After two years of weathering wave after wave, doctors, nurses, and hospital staff are “burnt to a crisp,” as one Hamilton, Ont. doctor put it. The problems with Canada’s hospitals – from surgery backlogs, to “hallway medicine,” to staffing shortages – stretch back long before the pandemic.

Globe and Mail investigative reporter Robyn Doolittle set out with reporter Tom Cardoso to find why Canadian hospitals were so poorly equipped to handle an influx of patients. What she found, Robyn explains, is how the very foundation of Canada’s universal health care system led to the problems that plague it today.