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?

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Mr. Victor Doerksen Strikes Out on Healthcare

Mr. Victor Doerksen, the minister of Innovation and Science for the Alberta government in 2004, has very little to say about health care. He, of course, spouts the usual rhetoric about how important an issue it is, how everyone should have access to it regardless of their ability to pay, and his concern about sustainability. He presents his position under the following headings:
Determinants of health.
1).Enhance, by twenty five million dollars the “Alberta Child Health Benefit Program” to enable poor families to better access community child activities.
(Immunization is free and it would seem less that 50% of poor families access this resource).
2). Create a health research and innovation fund to focus on complimentary medicine outcomes. (Give me a break! There are at present about 3000 herbal or complimentary medicines out there at present; only about 300 of them have any hard research attached to them, so there are about 2,700 more to go. So far the 300 haven’t proved to be a savior of the health care system. What makes us think the others will be different. In the mean time people are using the “complimentary medicines AND services, and paying for them out of pocket, so it is actually saving the system money-----if there is more benefit than harm in them).
3) Long term funding through municipalities for better housing, homelessness, etc. (Obviously, Victor has bought into the idea that the determinants of health are poverty and poor education, rather than taking it a step farther and asking “What are the determinants of poverty, poor education, AND poor health. Need I say more?)
B. Sustainability
1) Establish a twenty five billion dollar Health Trust by 2016. (This seems to me to be just another way of pouring more money into the public system, and although that may help Alberta’s situation in the long term, the other provinces in Canada will not tolerate the loss of their health care workers to Alberta. The reality is more money needs to be put into the system in the short term, to shorten waiting lists, AND build up your fund. If you’re going to do it, you had better get with it before the federal government and the other provinces turn green with envy, and shut Alberta down like in the 1980s).
2). Work with health care workers to utilize the full capacity of the existing system------. (Mr. Doerksen, have you even been in a doctor’s office, an emergency ward, or a hospital ward, in the last five years?)
C. Refresh and build on the report of the 2001 “Report of the Premiers Advisory Council on Health”. (If the solutions are there, why hasn’t there been progress to date? That was five years ago and you have been in government and a cabinet minister during that time.)
All in all, Mr. Victor Doerksen has struck out on health care. Hopefully he has better ideas on other aspects of government concern.

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