Thursday, November 13, 2008

Second-rate Liberal health-care in Sudbury, Jim Bradley's hometown

Liberal health-care monopoly mismanagement is festering everywhere in Ontario, whether in St. Catharines or in Jim Bradley's old hometown of Sudbury. Here are two letters from the Sudbury Star expressing sentiments of frustration and mistrust with the health system, eerily similar to those in Niagara:

Diane Blais wrote in “Long-term care patients forgotten in debate”, (Sudbury Star, Nov.11, 2008):

Re: No quick fix coming to solve bed crisis, city told — Nov. 8.

“In recent weeks, I have read numerous Sudbury Star articles and several letters in reference to the bed crisis at the Sudbury Regional Hospital, the cause being the high number of Alternate Level of Care (ALC) patients filling medical and surgical beds.

I’ve noticed that although we repeatedly hear about the impact this bed shortage is having on our health-care system in Sudbury — in terms of the cancellation of urgently needed surgeries, as well as our emergency room services — the plight of our most vulnerable and our most needy citizens, our ALC patients stuck in the middle of this conundrum, is never discussed.

It concerns me that in past articles relating to the bed crisis, alternate level of care patients have been described as “people who shouldn’t be there (in hospital).”

The Star’s article this past Friday references these patients in a somewhat derogatory manner as the “so-called alternate level of care patients” seeming to imply that the care needed by these individuals is less crucial than the care needed by acute care patients.

Although the daily care and assistance needed by many of the ALC patients is different, it is just as essential to the health and well being of these individuals and, for many of these patients, not getting the right care can become a matter of life or death.

Last month, The Star quoted David Caplan, minister of Health and Long Term Care, as saying the solution to the high number of ailing and elderly patients filling acute hospital beds is “all about getting people with the right kind of care into the right kind of setting that provides that care and an acute care setting does not.”

Truth is, our long-term care system is flawed in that it allows our elderly to sit in a hospital’s Transitional Care Unit, in instances that I personally know of, for as long as a year and a half, maybe longer. It also allows nursing homes to reject applicants, leaving them indefinitely trapped in this limbo.

Would any of us want to spend that much time in hospital, without privacy, our lives virtually on hold, looking at the same four walls day after day, eating the same menu week after week? As much as the rest of us, ALC patients need a home, one that accommodates their special care needs and at the same time gives them back some quality of life.

Given Saturday’s response from the North East Local Health Integrated Network, maybe, instead of a performing arts centre, we should be proposing a different kind of legacy project for our mayor.

Problem is we need it yesterday.”

(The "people who shouldn't be there" would be better if it referred to McGuinty's inept Liberals who shouldn't be in power! Odd, too, how St. Catharines Mayor McMullan is also mulling spending millions on expropriations and performing arts centres, while putting the bill for the proposed new Niagara regional hospital onto our long term debt...)


Darwin Brunne Whitefish wrote in “Disband LHINs, and fix the bed crisis”, (Nov.12, 2008, Sudbury Star):

"Re: No quick fix coming to solve bed crisis, city told -- Nov. 8.

The article is a good reporting example of the caliber of officials appointed by the Liberal government several years ago at a cost of $50 million to administer the health funds for the 14 local health integration networks throughout the province.

It was an inept decision made by George Smitherman, who was the health minister, to have an outlet to take the heat off the ministry for funding. We could use the funds for better purposes, as it is evident that the only solutions LHINs ever come up with are related to those from the community that have been discussed for the past eight years, long before their time.

When LHINs were established, they held a conference of community health organizations and hospitals to get a consensus on a plan of action that had already been sent to the Health Ministry on numerous occasions. The funds allotted to various health groups by the ministry are now sent to the North East LHIN, which disburses to various health initiatives. That was done directly by the ministry in the past.

When northern agencies needed more funds, the ministry would distribute funds to each agency. The solutions are the same from North East LHIN because it get them from the public. What is not the same is the $50 million it cost to allot the funds. Could the health system use these funds instead of raising taxes?

It is unnerving that LHIN officials are a "bit surprised about the strong language" used by doctors under the circumstances. Where have these people been living for the past five years?

Bed shortage was an issue before the LHINs and was one of the primary problems they were hired to resolve. Do we have to wait until patients die before they are not surprised about the strong language?

It is about time that doctors took a strong stance on this issue and we appreciate Dr. John Fenton putting the facts before us to help us understand doctors' frustrations. Apparently, LHIN's officials do not.

If Timmins had such a good solution for the problem, how come LHINs did not implement this solution some time ago for all the other hospitals?

It is time to ask Premier Dalton McGuinty to unwind these LHINs and put the funds to use for health care. This is a prime example of government waste of taxpayers' funds.

It is apparent from the lack of response from Health Minister David Caplan that he has little respect for northerners' health issues.

We are getting second-rate health service from the province, despite our right of equal access.

However, our taxes are the same.”


Not only are our taxes the same, for second-rate health service, but Sudbury is experiencing the same arrogant Liberal government and the same Liberal Healthcare Duplicity as we are here in St. Catharines.

In Sudbury, as well as in Niagara, the Liberals do nothing about the bed shortages that are routinely blamed for causing the health system to clog up.

When Whitefish asks in his letter "Do we have to wait until patients die", the Liberal government and its appointed agents, the LHIN, run and hide. In St. Catharines, that's what Liberal MPP Jim Bradley also did: almost a year ago, on Nov.29, 2007, a CIHI study found that the St. Catharines General Hospital had the third-highest patient-death rate in Canada; yet Bradley has still NOT publicly explained why this occurred in his Liberal government's hospital in his own riding.

Bradley's secretive majority Liberals deny that they are underfunding Ontario's health systems, yet they refused to call for an independent investigation into the Niagara Health System (NHS).

Patients HAVE DIED already; but Liberal Jim Bradley refuses to tell his current hometown why.

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