What's Wrong with Healthcare?

Thinking inside and outside of the healthcare box. After 41 years of family practice, what's happened to Canada's healthcare system?

Friday, October 06, 2006

Rutherford and Health Care

As a rule I find Rutherford (QR770) fairly sensible, and makes a good effort to stick to the evidence available; however, after fifteen minutes of listening this morning, I need a valium (no, I won’t go to the emergency department to get one!).
I suppose all talk shows and phone in shows are primarily for entertainment value, and being a full moon, perhaps he should be forgiven; but I do wish there was a “talk show” on health care that had basic knowledge as to how we arrived at today’s emergency department dilemma.
Here is what I heard in the few minutes I listened:
1) Mr. Rutherford states something along the lines of “I’ve heard there are as many as 80% of patients that go to the emergency should be cared for elsewhere”. Mr Rutherford should be told: a) he can get statistics on these things and he will find that the number of “inappropriate visits to the emergency departments in Calgary is steadily decreasing and is presently less than 20%”, and b) if the community cannot attend to the needs of the patients, they will end up in the emergency department. The “elsewhere” may simply not exist!
2) The shortage of nurses, like the shortage of doctors, has been precipitated by policies going back a few years. During cut-back times, thousands of nurses were let go (fired, laid off, etc), and there was a switch to part time employees so the Region could avoid the benefits that are paid to full time employees (this was an innovative idea!). At present there is such a shortage of nurses that the region is indeed looking for, and is prepared to hire, full time nurses. I suspect however, the nurses are now in a position to “pick and choose” their employment, and the conditions attached there-to. Consequently, now, nurses may pick part time and only work the “time and one half pay” shifts, avoid the night work, and choose life style issues over full time employment and benefits. The stupidest thing done in the past 15 years was to bring about a “short supply” of all health care providers. They are now in the driver’s seat and have adopted “The Business Model” that our governments thought was so necessary in our health care system. Lord help us if we keep innovating in the health care system! Perhaps I should have continued to listen, perhaps someone may have phoned in and made a contribution with some understanding of where we are, and how we got here; perhaps I should forgive all the B.S. that is being thrown around today (research shows that you are healthier if you have the capacity to forgive), but if I had, I may have ended up in the emergency department!


Blogger michie said...

Are you sure there wasn't SOMEWHERE ELSE you could have gone!?!

6/10/06 2:19 PM  
Blogger Lanny said...

You should call in!!!! And send him your blog. Years ago, I knew the healthcare system was declining and I knew he didn't realize this. I remember being furious a few times listening to him. It seems that now, at least, he seems to get it but he depends on experts like you to inform him rather than the "political mouthpieces" who too often talk from a position of "authority". I think he should have you on as a regular guest!!!!

6/10/06 3:37 PM  
Blogger Al said...

There needs to be the will to get at the truth. I think investigative reporting has gone the way of the dinosaurs.

6/10/06 8:53 PM  

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