This from R. Bobak (St. Catharines Standard, Jan.30, 2007):
"Re: "Health care needs to be more user-friendly", The Standard, Jan. 5.
It is fascinating that former NDP deputy health minister (and medical-school enrolment cutter) Michael Decter is still peddling his meddling health-care advice. Is the "difference between getting faster care or not" really linked to patient ignorance in navigating our health-care system? And here I thought the problem was a systemic failure of our bloated, unresponsive monopoly. Nah, better to blame the patient.
On the same day as Decter's column, The Standard's front-page story read: Pressures mount for NHS: Bed shortage forces health system to postpone some elective surgeries. Ironically, in 2004 Decter told Osprey Media's James Wallace: "Demand for hospital beds is really in decline. There is not a case to build more hospital beds."
What's worrisome is Liberal Health Minister George Smitherman gushed that Decter "knows a lot about this stuff...I think it's really important that we take all of his advice." Sure, if you want our taxes to yield doctor shortages, bed shortages and scaled-down coverage! Is that the Liberals' intent? Well, The Standard's Sept. 30, 2006 story, More hospital beds not in the cards: premier reveals the Grits' ideological aim.
I wonder how Decter interprets Suzanne Aucoin's treacherous voyage on the S.S. Smitherman: will her experience be trivialized as just an obscure anomaly, or is it indicative of a system rotten at its core? Where did all the "navigation" leave her, but high and dry?
We need a system where crying out for Smitherman to save the day would not be the sole option, as it sadly is now. We need less Smitherman, more choice. We need to supplant OHIP's restrictive, protected-turf model with a multi-payer/provider model. We need to put an end to bureaucrats telling us what we can't do to pursue our healthcare needs."