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?

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Rutherford with Dinning on Healthcare

It would have been nice if Mr. Rutherford had done a bit of research on Mr. Dinning’s “track record” before having him on as a guest this morning. Mr. Dinning has been going around Alberta trumpeting his good performance, so one could have expected the same to be true on the Rutherford talk show this morning. Still, very little was said as to his performance as C.E.O. and Chairman of the Calgary Regional Health Authority. In fact, when one caller wished to bring up the subject, he was admonished for bringing up old issues. Come on, you can’t have it both ways, Mr. Rutherford. You can’t look at what you consider his “positives” without allowing for what some of us feel were his negatives.
Yes, Mr. Dinning and Mr. Klein started some welcome frugality in the Alberta Government, but along with the decrease in funding to our health care system must come the responsibility of those actions. Your caller had some good points; he couldn’t express himself well, but raising the question of the dramatic decrease in active treatment beds in Calgary during the 1990s, is a fair question. Edmonton didn’t follow this process and although their old General and Misercordia Hospitals were dinosaurs, they still stand and are being well used for transitional care and other medical needs. In Calgary, we dropped from 3.3 acute care beds per 1000 population to at present 1.7 beds per 1000 population. Look at how this actually changed during Mr. Dinning time as chair of the CHRA. and ask some questions. During his tenure, the population of Calgary was already sky-rocketing.
When the Calgary Region decided to sell the Holy Cross, all proposals were to comply with certain criteria. One of those criteria was that the property was not to be used for medical purposes, and that there would be no relationship between the Region and the prospective buyers. The caller was correct. Inside private interests bought the property and it is now being actively used for many medical purposes.
Mr. Dinning’s management and fiscal skills while he was Chairman of the Calgary region were not researched. If you look at the budgets during this time, he was continually short of money with his hand out to government. It was kind of an inside joke within the medical community “Well, at least we’ve got Jim and he’s got the inside track with Ralphy. If anyone can get money out of the government, he should be able to”. The point is, although he took the job of Chairperson because he had concerns about what was happening, and its impact on his mother (really!), he came up with no solutions and things have continued to go down hill. Now he says he supports the path we are on.
As I’ve said before, Mr. Dinning is very personable and very bright, but he is also the consummate politician. Mr. Rutherford, there is only one way to interview a politician, and that is to have the whole story and all the facts.

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