Here's Dr. Merrilee Fullerton's response in the National Post (Oct.18, 2007) to yesterday's letter from Clement:
"We deserve some honesty about health care.
Re: Health Minister Defends Wait Times, letter to the editor, Oct. 17
With respect to the wait times information commented on by the federal Minister of Health, Tony Clement, the Canada Health Council posts on its own Web site that the information needed to paint a cross-Canada picture of wait times today compared to three years ago is not available, despite commitments that it would be. Therefore, it seems highly unreasonable for Mr. Clement to criticize The Fraser Institute for attempting to gather information about what is occurring with wait times by communicating with front-line providers.The idea that the institute's information is not valid because it is based on front-line providers' estimates and not "hard fact" is the same kind of attitude that created the physician shortage in Canada in the first place, when governments implemented parts of the Barer-Stoddard Report that led to medical school cutbacks in the early 1990s." As our population ages and more health care is required, it will matter little to you if the government has increased surgery volumes in priority areas by 7% and non-priority areas by 2% if you still can't get the care you need in a timely way.How long does Mr. Clement expect this process of creating a stronger, better health care system to take and what should I tell my patients whose lives are negatively affected now? At some point, our politicians need to be honest with the public."
(This story ran with a photo showing patients lining the hallways of Sacre Ceour Hospital in Montreal as they await care)
(oh yeah - Bet that Bob Rae and Michael Decter well remember the infamous 'let's get rid of doctors to cut costs' Barer-Stoddard report; aka the B.S. report!)
There better be a 'plan B' both in the federal and provincial healthcare playbook. As Ontario's health minister George Smitherman once said, the province can't do it all - yet he then did his best to sabotage patients' choice and ban patients from the opportunity of looking after themselves. This is simply dangerous hypocrisy, and is politically unacceptable. In this absence of political leadership, a Supreme Court ruling cannot come soon enough. Unfortunately in the interim, many Ontario patients are being forced to suffer by glacial government inaction.