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?

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Healthcare Pep-talk by Mr. Ed Stelmach

The only thing that I could find on Mr. Ed. Stelmach’s website with regards to health care, was his “pep” talk under the heading “A commitment to a publicly funded health system that works for all Albertans” I guess the mother’s milk statement has worked so well for federal politicians over the last twenty years that there is no reason to believe it won’t work here and now in Alberta. To save you, the political healthcare keeners from having to go to his web site, I will include it, verbatim, below.
“I envision a health care system that is efficient from a patient’s perspective. An efficient healthcare system doesn’t only mean saving money. We must be focused on the patient and put their needs first. Governments must work with health regions and health care professionals to find solutions together and develop incentives that improve the system and improve the health outcomes for Albertans. I believe we have the answers.
Our health care professionals are knowledgeable, dedicated, motivated, and most importantly, care deeply about meeting the health care needs of patients. We have seen successes, with the hip and knee projects, with the primary care centres, and soon, with an expanded scope of practice for more health care professionals. There is still work to be done; however, I believe our public funded system is up to the challenge”.
Well, thank you for the above “pep-talk” and vote of confidence, but I, as a health care professional, do not share your enthusiasm. Many outcome measurements show Canada falling far behind other industrial nations of the world, yet you state that we have the answers. I’m not sure you heard the questions: How do we address the increasing cost in our tax funded monopolistic healthcare system, how do we deal with ever lengthening waiting lists (risk lists), how do we deal with the dramatic lack of human resources in providing the needs of Albertans, and so on? The hip and knee pilot project you mention, required the input of additional tens of millions of dollars to bring about a small dent in the number of people waiting for joint replacement. How does this address sustainability? I suppose, when you speak of primary care centres, you are referring to such clinics as the Calgary 8th and 8th clinic, the South Calgary Clinic, the Okotoks Clinic, and other regionally run and heavily subsidized clinics. Here is a news flash! Before the devastating cut backs of the nineties, Calgary had many community medical clinics that provided equivalent services to the community, and none of them were subsidized. So how do you see these heavily tax-payer funded community funded medical clinics being the answer to sustainability of our health care system? Sorry, Ed. but your position seems to be “cheer everybody on and good things will happen”, and frankly, Ed., I find that bordering on administrative dereliction of duty. To have a “vision” one must take off the blindfold.

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