Friday, January 11, 2008

Pat on the back, or kick in the butt?

Fred Audibert wrote in “Health minister would be wise to initiate review of the NHS”, (St. Catharines Standard, Jan.10, 2007):

“Re: NHS review pondered, The Standard, Dec. 7

Give Niagara Falls MPP Kim Craitor a big pat on the back for requesting an organizational review of our Niagara Health System. Health Minister George Smitherman would be wise to heed Craitor's advice.

Health care is a serious issue that affects all of us at one time or another. With recent statistics showing that the St. Catharines General site of the NHS has a higher than average death rate over other Canadian hospitals, one would agree that an in-depth review of its operations would be more than appropriate. All residents of Niagara deserve much better.

If this much-needed inquiry of the NHS does take place, hopefully its outcomes will be based on what is witnessed in the trenches, and not based on what is discussed in the boardrooms of upper management.

Many important issues such as wait times for surgery, long lineups in emergency departments and no beds for admitted patients must be addressed. It's imperative that front-line staffing issues also be scrutinized. Perhaps this exercise will demonstrate that greater funding is required, and perhaps it won't. Maybe this review will show a need for management restructuring, then again, it may not. There might also be a need for more doctors and nurses.

These are all important questions that must be answered. It is hard to imagine what new concerns might be discovered.

One thing is for certain: All interested parties should take a step back, take a deep breath, exhale, then look in the mirror and ask themselves, "If I were the boss, would I hire me?"

In closing, I urge The Standard to keep up the good work in informing all residents of Niagara of any new developments in such an important issue.”

I agree with most of this letter, but I don’t know why Niagara Falls Liberal Kim Craitor deserves a “pat on the back” for suggesting a supposed ‘organizational review’ of the NHS, which his own Liberal colleague Jim Bradley said was “routine”, and which their own government’s Health Ministry spokeswoman, Laurel Ostfield, plainly said was NOT a direct response to the high NHS death rates! The Liberals obviously denied there was a link. Why praise Craitor for simply appearing to have done something, which substantially amounted to nothing?!

The Liberal government should have called an independent investigation by the Ombudsman’s office immediately after CIHI revealed its study at the end of November 2007. Any so-called review by the Health Ministry into the administration of its own health monopoly will yield results as phony as a three-dollar bill.

It’s too little, too late for mere bandages.

No comments: