I wonder if my MPP, St. Catharines Liberal Jim Bradley, has any public response to this letter, "Ministry of Health does little while it plays the blame game" (St. Catharines Standard, Mar.18, 2008) by Dr. Janice Willett, president of the Ontario Medical Association:
"Re: Doctors could have performed surgeries at other hospitals, Health Ministry says, The Standard, March 13.
It's disappointing to see the Minister of Health's spokesperson take such a short-sighted approach to the situation at the Niagara Health System.
Instead of working with the hospital and local doctors and nurses to implement solutions to fix the shortage of health professionals and lack of resources, the ministry has chosen to play the blame game. Unfortunately, this does little to address the reality of the problem and in no way improves access to care for patients.
It also diminishes the hard work and commitment local doctors have put forth to sustain medical care in the region. Frontline workers and the hospital administration should be applauded for working tirelessly to try to maintain access for patients.
When we see a breakdown in our health-care system, as we have seen in Niagara, Ontarians expect that the provincial government will become part of the solution. Instead, it has shown it has little understanding of the reality that moving surgical operations is not as simple as a game of musical chairs.
There are many factors involved in good surgical care, including pre-operative and post-operative diagnostics and treatment in order to ensure quality care and patient safety.
The provincial government has the opportunity to work with the hospital and the local doctors and nurses to develop sustainable, long-term solutions so the region can retain the doctors and nurses needed to provide care and patients can have access to the tests and treatments they need."
It’s astounding to see Bradley’s Ontario Liberals flounder for answers to justify the failures piling up in their socialized health-care system by trotting out that old David Peterson-era chestnut of ‘blame-the-doctors’ regarding the cancellation/postponement of some 190 surgeries in the Niagara Health System in mid-March 2008. I'm waiting to find out what Jim Bradley meant when he was quoted in a story saying he hates doctors? (See: Can Jim Bradley explain why he "stood up and said 'I hate doctors'"? )
I guess the Liberal Commitment To The Future Of Medicare Act has nothing to do with the shortages in Ontario's health system? (Maybe the Liberals should rename that Draconian health monopolist legislation of theirs ‘The Condemnation of Healthcare Act’)
The story in this case is that there weren’t enough nurses in Niagara to assist in the surgeries, as John Robbins wrote in “Surgeries postponed”, (Osprey News, Mar.12, 2008) Of course, we just came off an election campaign where the Liberals claimed they had hired 8,000 nurses? Where are they?
A headline in Niagara This Week (Mar.19, 2008) read “Surgery postponements could lead to NHS Review:Craitor. Public needs to be reassured, MPP says.”
Look, if the death rate within the NHS (at the St. Catharines General Hospital - third highest in Canada in a Nov.2007 CIHI study) wasn't serious enough for Niagara Falls MPP Kim Craitor or his colleague in the next riding over in St. Catharines, Jim Bradley, to call for an immediate arm’s length INVESTIGATION of their health monopoly, why should anyone take seriously these spittin’-in-the-wind calls for some half-baked review, this time due to ‘surgery postponements’?! Especially seeing that Craitor has ALREADY, to no obvious benefit, ANNOUNCED THIS REVIEW SEVERAL TIMES BEFORE!
These Liberals pretend that the health monopoly which they control is fine – and then dance around the obvious evidence of its failures! Patients need to be reassured that the answer to better health-care in Ontario is NOT MORE GOVERNMENT INTERVENTION!
John Robbins wrote in “Break up the NHS”, (Niagara Falls Review, Sept.27, 2007):
“"I don't think Bart [Maves, then-Conservative candidate] has a clue about health care," said Craitor. "He's living in a utopia. To fix the existing hospitals (across Ontario) and to build the new ones we need, never mind what he's talking about, is about $8 billion."
Craitor said he was opposed to hospital restructuring in Niagara when Maves was MPP and he was a city councillor. Since he was elected MPP in 2003, said Craitor, he has tried to work with within the system the Tories created, but for sometime has felt the issue of hospital governance needs to be revisited.
During an all-candidates meeting in Fort Erie Tuesday evening, Craitor described the NHS as "too big and too complicated" to be efficiently managed.
On Wednesday, Craitor went farther, saying the solution to ongoing concerns about service delivery may be to split up the health system into smaller parts or even return to the previous model whereby each community hospital is independently governed.
"It's quite possible," said Craitor. "Maybe (the hospitals) have to go back to the communities."”
Maybe Craitor can actually get to the next plane of consciousness and realize that Ontario's hospitals and health-care system should not be monopolized by the State!
Craitor knows and has heard, as he himself says, of the problems in his health monopoly. Yet, his answer is to decentralize the NHS, creating more unaccountable government health-care fiefdoms??? And where is Craitor, who actually is the one living in a fantastically-unworkable health-care Utopia of his own Liberal party’s making, going to get the money for all of that duplication of services? Will the “communities” still get their health-cashola from the local Liberal franchise holder of the state purse-string? Liberals can’t fund one system properly – how is breaking it up going to help: more administrators? More real estate and maintenance costs? More contracts to Liberal lapdogs in the public-funded-health consultant industry? Will it really result in more doctors, nurses, and better patient service?
I don’t believe so. The problem is accountability between the system and the client-patients it serves – there is none. Ontario's Liberal single-payer-enforcing government has set itself up as the sole arbiter of health care in this province, yet, when problems arise, nothing effective is done about it: the 190 patients in Niagara being yet another example of the monopoly health system’s unaccountable, systemic failures.
As Anne Atkinson , a Niagara Health System V.P. said regarding the surgery cancellation/postponements for the 190 affected people (in "Nurse shortage blamed for 190 cancelled operations", Osprey News, March 13, 2008) patients should contact their physicians directly - not the hospital - if they have concerns about the status of their surgical procedures! Yep: go bother your doctor, not us! We're just a government-funded hospital system administering Liberal monopolistic no-choice health-care policies!
What are patients supposed to do in this bizarre - yet utterly predictable - Liberal health-care monopoly scenario?
The option for Ontarians to concurrently provide for themselves with private insurance when the government fails to deliver, is outlawed. So we are stuck in an endless circle of victimization by a paternalistic Liberal government forcing its monopolistic health-care ideology upon Ontario patients; meanwhile, we have no other alternatives to the government’s plodding, money-sucking, no-other-choice system.
Tiffany Mayer wrote in “Death report seen as lobbying ‘tool’”, (St. Catharines Standard, Dec.1, 2007):
“St. Catharines MPP Jim Bradley noted the region had the chance to add 200 long-term-care beds in 2001. Local decision-makers at the time felt they weren't needed, Bradley said.
"I think we're seeing now that we need them," he said. "It would be nice to have them there now, but that was the past. We have to look to the future.... Our needs are obviously very great needs."
But, he added, as requests are put forward for more beds and programs, "we'll see them approved."”
Isn't it interesting how Bradley, in that 2007 interview, referred to 2001 – but not to any events since 2003, when his Liberals ran the system as a majority government and could have added the beds!! Or is Bradley just being deceptively coy, referring to long-term rather than emergency beds?
(Notice reporter Mayer didn't bother to ask Ole Jimmy about that. Isn't Ole Liberal Jimmy a "local decision-maker"?!! )
Also, let’s not forget this report by James Wallace, “More hospital beds not in the cards: premier”, (St. Catharines Standard, Sept. 30, 2006):
“Premier Dalton McGuinty has poured cold water on a call by Ontario doctors to create more hospital beds to ease emergency room overcrowding.
McGuinty, in an exclusive interview with Osprey News yesterday, said emergency room doctors "got our attention," but deflected questions about funding additional beds to alleviate wait times.
"There is no easy magic solution to be found when it comes to addressing all of the challenges faced in our emergency rooms," he said.”
Well, here we are - two years and a provincial election later - and it’s as if nothing has changed. Apparently the Liberal magic solution is their stubborn insistence to impose monopoly medicare onto 13 million Ontarians!
Bed shortages are also causing delays in the system. Again, the evidence isn’t new – the Liberals have known of this problem for years!
John Robbins wrote in “Pressures mount for NHS: Bed shortage forces health system to postpone some elective surgeries” (Jan.5, 2007, Osprey News):
“Patients shuffled between hospitals.
Surgical procedures booked weeks or months in advance postponed, including six this week.
Ambulances lined up at emergency department doors waiting to off-load patients.
Front-line hospital staff working overtime.
Administrators scrambling to find beds.
These are the symptoms of a chronic problem facing the health-care system in Niagara: too many frail, elderly people needing care and too few nursing home beds for them, hospital officials say.”
Then there is Robbins’ story “Craitor pitches NHS review.Falls MPP to discuss concerns over management of system with health minister” (Osprey News, Dec.5, 2007):
“"We have spoken with (Niagara) MPPs a number of times about financial concerns," [NHS chair Betty-Lou] Souter said. "We're confident that (Craitor's) request for a review is to ensure that the NHS receives the resources it requires to operate a multi-site hospital and to provide the services we deserve in Niagara."
Souter said many of the problems patients and hospital staff deal with on a daily basis are provincewide issues, such as a chronic nursing shortage, as well as problems that stem from the shortage of long-term-care beds in the community.
"It's a challenge every day for the people on the front lines that have to deal with this," Souter said.
"They have no beds and they have these critical patients in the hallways and there's a bed (occupied) by some poor soul that's been waiting for how long to get into long-term care and can't.”
Bed shortages and hospital hallways acting as waiting rooms - yet the Liberals blithely insist there are no connections! If funding is an issue now, then it has been an issue long enough for the Liberals to stop blaming other governments and take responsibility for what has happened in Ontario health care since 2003 under their watch. The NHS has said it needs funding…Bradley said he’d approve more beds…where are the beds…the nurses…the doctors….the funding…the promised Utopian single-payer universality which we were all supposedly to have in Ontario? The Liberals imposed a new Health Tax that has brought in some 10 billion dollars to the Liberals – but they didn’t spend all of it exclusively on health care – they used it for other government expenses as well.
Brad Waters of the Toronto paramedics union said on Mar.19, 2008 that the 911 system in Toronto has failed because ambulances are forced to wait so long in hospital emergency hallways with patients, that they cannot respond to other calls.
In a Mar.19, 2008 interview on CFRB with Bill Carroll, Michael O’Mahoney, president of the Sick Children’s Hospital Foundation in Toronto, said “we don’t have enough money” and “we don’t have enough MRI’s”.
Yet, McGuinty's Liberals deny that they’re underfunding health care! The Liberals spent our tax money in 2004 actually confiscating private existing MRI’s in Ontario, rather than using tax funds for more MRI’s in places like Sick Kids!
The skewed priorities and excuses emanating from this sorry Liberal government are inexcusable. Health minister George Smitherman already admitted several years ago that his provincial government can’t “do it all” (James Wallace, “Finding a cure: RX: series for health care", St. Catharines Standard, Aug.11, 2005)
The sadistic part is neither he, nor Craitor, nor Bradley, will concede that their health monopoly is a colossal failure which is hurting patients.