Posts Tagged ‘health care’

Dr. Gerrard held a press conference Thursday at HSC where he spoke about two very important topics:

1. The NDP government needs to move away from a global, trickle-down budget and use a budget based on actual services delivered.

2. The NDP government needs to spend more money on Type 2 diabetes prevention, as the human and financial cost is staggering and preventable.

Here is some news coverage on the conference:

Diabetes an epidemic that needs to be addressed: Liberals (Jen Skerritt, Winnipeg Free Press)

Manitoba Liberal leader calling for changes in health-care funding (CBC News)

Read Full Post »

This is something that I’ve been thinking about for a while, when I’m not out campaigning or working on other specific issues.

For some reason, the NDP’s complete failure to fix healthcare has been a difficult issue to communicate.  I imagine it’s because healthcare is such a complex issue, affecting every Manitoban in a different way.  But no matter what your experiences have been, there are some universal problems with our healthcare under the NDP, and I’m going to list them now:

The Big Six Failures of NDP Health Care

1. Hallway Medicine: Patients are still left in the hallways of our hospitals with no privacy, and with no improvement in sight.

2. Exploding Bureaucracy: While doctors and nurses leave Manitoba for better work conditions, the WRHA bureaucracy has TRIPLED in size since 1999.  The WRHA is building two new office buildings to make sure they have room to hire even more managers.

3. No Accountability: The preventable death of Brian Sinclair led to a bungled internal investigation, a health minister who said she was too busy to comment, and a Premier who tried his best to hide from reporters.  No one is being held accountable.

4. Patient’s Rights: The NDP continually refuse to support Dr. Gerrard in his work to guarantee the rights of patients for timely treatment and access to their own health information.

5. Urgent Care: The NDP refuse to consider the creation of new Urgent Care clinics to reduce the strain on Winnipeg’s ERs.

6. Health Care Funding: The NDP way of funding healthcare funnels money to bureaucrats instead of supporting the work of nurses and doctors.  The NDP refuse to introduce a more efficient and accountable funding system based on the delivery of services.

Not Enough Talk About Health

A good number of people have been asking me why we haven’t been hitting harder on health care during this by-election.  The truth is, too many people I’ve met have given up on the idea of improvements in health care.  Having lived through decades of failed health policies, many voters have started to believe the NDP government’s idea that what we have is the best we can do.

But this notion that we can’t have something better is going to stop.  We are hitting hard on health care this week, making sure that every voter in Elmwood is aware of just how the NDP is failing in healthcare, and how the Liberal party and our leader, world-renowned physician Dr. Jon Gerrard, will continue our fight to reform healthcare for all Manitobans.

And how do we reform?

Fixing Health Care: Eight Steps to a Better System

Step 1: Change to funding per service instead of universal funding.  Every patient examination, every treatment and every surgery is billed to the province, reflecting a realistic cost.  Instead of capping funding for each hospital, funding is paid out as needed with no quotas or maximums.

Step 2: Legislate a Patient’s Bill of Rights, guaranteeing both timely access to treatment and timely access for a patient to personal health information.  A Medical Standards Quality Council would be created to establish provincial standards for wait times based on medical and scientific considerations rather than political ones.

Step 3: Revisit urgent care clinics as a way of reducing pressure on emergency wards.  These clinics can be run by the government or by other groups, as long as they are universal and all billing is paid by the province and not by the patients.

Step 4: Establishment of an independent enforcement office to send patients for immediate care when their right to timely access has been compromised, whether that care is within Manitoba or elsewhere in Canada.

Step 5: Build more long-term care spaces to move patients with chronic care needs out of hospital sooner.

Step 6: Implement an electronic health system to standardize health records in Manitoba.  This will allow both for proper reporting on wait times and for better access for a patient to their personal health records in accordance with the Patient’s Bill of Rights.

Step 7: Establish a blame-free reporting system and a Medical Procedure Improvement team to prevent medical errors from re-occurring.

Step 8: Bring improvements to both aboriginal health care (emphasizing prevention through better access to overlooked necessities) and mental health care with a community-based focus.

It’s time to take the first step.  With support of the people of Elmwood, I hope to work along with Dr. Gerrard and Mr. Lamoureux to bring these improvements forward in the legislature.  I also intend to bring these solutions forward to Manitobans as a whole, so that we can all expect and demand that this work begin immediately.

Read Full Post »

It’s too late.  Dr. Brian Postl has no credibility.  Given Brodbeck’s post on the Ontario eight-hour guarantee, I would have been skeptical from the start.  But now that WRHA CEO Brian Postl has come out in favour, I can’t imagine how Manitobans can think of this as anything more than empty promises from a health bureaucracy that has nothing left to give.

My impression is that the WRHA’s version of a wait time limit will be yet another layer of bureaucracy that penalizes and further demoralizes front-line staff while the true source of the health care crisis (ever-expanding RHA bureaucracies) is unaffected.

Here is an interesting post about wait time limits: Wait Time & Delayed Care: Should the US & Canada Adopt England’s 4 Hour ER (A&E) Wait Time Guarantee

If the WRHA and the NDP government want to get serious about health care guarantees, they should be looking holistically at patient’s rights.  This is what the Manitoba Liberal Party has been proposing.

I will be posting soon in more detail about health care in Manitoba, due to some questions I’ve received, so I hope to cover patient’s rights in more detail then.

As long as Dr. Postl and the NDP government are in charge of health care, all of the “ideas” will be reactionary.  We need a proactive health care leadership, and we’re not getting that in Manitoba.  We deserve better.

Read Full Post »

Dr. Jon Gerrard has posted an entry on his blog explaining why he feels that it is important for both Dr. Postl and Dr. Wright to resign:

Why I have called for the resignations of Dr. Brian Postl and Dr. Brock Wright

In addition, we now have word from the Minister of Health that she has known since October that Brian Sinclair had asked for help at the triage desk:

Minister sat on truth about ER death

Where is our Premier?  Does he have nothing to say on this embarrassment?  There is only one leader in the legislature who is actively pursuing this matter and making his opinions known day to day, and that’s Dr. Jon Gerrard.

Unfortunately, neither Hugh McFadyen or Tory Health Critic Myrna Driedger have made their responses available to the public.

And of course, as with all other complete failures by the NDP government of Manitoba, the Premier is staying as far away from the issue as possible.

Now that’s leadership.

Read Full Post »

Dr. Gerrard, leader of the Manitoba Liberal Party, has called for the resignations of WRHA CEO Dr. Brian Postl and chief medical officer Dr. Brock Wright.   Links: Winnipeg Free Press | Winnipeg Sun

Unlike politicians in other jurisdications who may be more quick to call for heads to roll, Dr. Gerrard does not like to make statements like this, especially as he knows and truly respects both men.  Contrary to what some may think, these events aren’t a “good thing” for any of the political parties.  This is an incredibly upsetting situation for all of us.

There have been many concerns of late with the conduct of the WRHA executive, and while I think the argument could be made that the Health Minister has given the appearance of being either unable or unwilling to correct the WRHA issues, I do believe that primary responsibility rests with the WRHA executive itself.

We need to send a message in this province that we are not willing to accept mediocrity when it comes to life-essential services.  What would we be saying if we allow the WRHA leadership to continue on its course when it has made so many errors?

As far as the Doer government’s charges of “politicizing the issue”, I have this to say: this issue becomes politicized when the government refuses to admit that it has reason to apologize.  The Minister of Health and the Premier of Manitoba do share some blame for what has happened.   The death of Brian Sinclair was a failure in policy and a personal error by front-line staff, and that deserves an apology from the Premier along with recognition that the recommendations made after the 2003 death of Dorothy Madden were not properly implemented.  The botched investigation by the WRHA is a step even beyond a tragedy caused by misguided practices; it makes the Minister of Health and the Premier responsible for the inaccurate statements they made, and leaves the WRHA with a serious credibility problem.

Rather than making this issue a divide between the NDP party and the rest of Manitoba, I’d like to see us all work together.  Let’s look at the good ideas being brought forward by the other parties and other provinces, and evaluate them openly.  Let’s have public hearings about our health care crisis, so that people can come forward and share their experiences, both good and bad (because there is some good, and we can build on that).

This isn’t a “throw the bums out” issue against the NDP; it’s a “fix the problem now” issue.  So let’s do just that.

Read Full Post »

I read an interesting post at Endless Spin Cycle: Anatomy of a Manitoba “Scandal”

I think the big problem with the WRHA and the NDP government’s Health Care in general is that it’s been a long string of failures with few successes (most “successes” being the result of more money on equipment or health infrastructure without solving the real problems).

Continued hallway medicine, deaths at Concordia and HSC, medical contract payola, an ever-expanding bureaucracy, a Minister of Health who doesn’t seem to have a grasp of how to give even an appearance of concern…

Are any of these things enough to bring down the Doer government?  They haven’t been so far, despite continued press releases from the PC Party.

But the Manitoba Liberal Party is taking a different approach.  We have put forward legislation that would assure accountability in health care, and we’ll continue to pressure the Doer government to support it.  We are advocating for individuals who need health care and who are being marginalized by their government (and oftentimes ignored by their own local NDP MLA).  And we are working to come up with more improvements on our health care platform (which is already far ahead of the NDP and PC Party) that will continue to identify common sense solutions to our worsening health care crisis.

The time for the NDP to be able to throw money at health care without actually looking to solve the core issues is definitely coming to an end.  It’s time for the Doer government to start looking at the real problems, and all they need to do is start listening to the Manitoba Liberal Party and the concerns of Manitobans.

The Manitoba Liberal Party will continue to push for a truly accountable health care system, and I am very happy to be a part of the team.

Read Full Post »

Health care needs to be fixed, and I don’t think there’s a single Manitoban who would say that the Doer government is anywhere close to fixing it.

Here are some things we need right now:

1.    A Manitoba Patients’ Bill of Rights that establishes a legally enforceable guarantee of timely access to quality care.

2.    A Medical Standards Quality Council to establish provincial standards for wait times based on the best medical and scientific evidence available.

3.    An Enforcement Office which will have the authority to send patients for immediate care if they have not been treated within the mandated time, whether they be sent somewhere within Manitoba, or to another province.

4.    Eliminate the rationing of health care for Manitobans.  Quotas and global budgets are not meeting the needs of patients, and far too much funding is flowing to the bureaucracy instead of to the frontline health care providers.

5.    Reduce medical errors in the health care system with a blame-free reporting system and a Medical Procedure Improvement Team to ensure that action is taken to prevent the errors from occurring again.

6.    Improve aboriginal health care, beginning with the often overlooked basics of access to care, milk, and clean drinking water.

7.    Improve mental health care by focusing on community mental health care.

8.    Build new long-term care spaces to move patients with chronic care needs out of hospital sooner.

9.    Implement an electronic health care system that standardizes patients’ records.  This is a critical component of amodern health care system, allowing proper reporting to be done on outcomes and wait times.

These items aren’t part of an idealistic wish list; the fact that these things aren’t in place are failures of the current government.

There has been quite a bit of window dressing regarding health care, but the NDP government has continued to get it wrong in that they aren’t willing to guarantee these nine items for our province.  There has been no leadership from the government on these issues.

Several people who have worked at Concordia hospital have told me that the only time they ever saw that facility free of hallway medicine was from an hour before to an hour after any of the Premier’s visits.  We have patients waiting for 18 months for rotator cuff (shoulder) surgery, and by far the highest ovarian cancer mortality rate in the country.

Cancer Mortality by Province/Territory

Cancer of the Ovary, Females, All Ages, 2004

To better illustrate the current sentiments of Doer’s goverment, here’s an example of the NDP government’s approach to Aboriginal health care:

Flor Marcelino, MLA for Wellington: … However, I noticed that if you can be creative and practical, there are other alternatives to milk if you just want calcium. I saw in Gods Lake Narrows this school where supplies are delivered. They have several boxes of Cheez Whiz which is also a derivative of milk product containing calcium. I saw lots of bread. I thought without even thinking about this bill that this is a good alternative for milk.
So these children and adults from remote communities who, with this product which could be stored for a long time, these people from the northern communities are not without calcium in their diet. They may not have the actual fresh, chilled milk in the morning, but they have Cheez Whiz and other milk-derivative products that could be stored.

(Hansard except posted at The Great Canadian Talk Show blog.)

I think it’s pretty clear that we have a serious problem with health care in Manitoba.  And it’s on this platform that Bill Blaikie wants to join government.  Our provincial government’s approach to health is an embarrassment, and The Honourable Mr. Blaikie had better stand up and admit the crisis if he expects to show any leadership on the issue.

Read Full Post »