Health care has long been a topic of great concern, discussion and interest in this province, and in fact throughout Canada. Recently, the CBC announced their Rate My Hospital project, which ranks Canadian hospitals on criteria such as mortality after surgery, nursing sensitivity for both surgical and medical patients, and readmission. The tool also enables the public to rank their hospitals on areas of respect, communication, timeliness and cleanliness.
With a flurry of health care related conversations taking place in the Legislature, in the media and in our communities- emergency room wait times, current negotiations between the Alberta Medical Association and the Alberta government, queue jumping and more—I want to draw your attention to an excellent piece of writing found in The Edmonton Journal. A doctor’s letter to his patients outlines the myriad concerns doctors, and patients, have about the state of health care under this PC government.
Dr. Mark Ewanchuk, an assistant clinical professor of anesthesiology and critical care medicine at the University of Alberta, writes:
The Alberta government is deceiving you about our province’s health-care system. It is trying to convince you that it, and it alone, knows how best to plan, manage and deliver health care; and that it is able to do so without the input and expertise of those of us on the front lines who actually deliver care.
Further, the government is seeking to destroy the efforts of a multitude of individuals who have been struggling to redefine and re-innovate how your health care is delivered since the last time a Progressive Conservative government decimated health care…It’s the reason you can only obtain proper ophthalmology care at one of our five city hospitals (Royal Alexandra). Or why Edmonton’s busiest obstetrical centre for babies and women (Grey Nuns) has no pediatric services for children. Or why our busiest neonatal and pediatric centre for babies and children (The Stollery) has no women’s medicine. Or why our vascular centre (Grey Nuns) has no trauma services. Or why our busiest trauma centre (University of Alberta) has no vascular surgery program. Or why our thoracic centre (Royal Alexandra) has no cardiac surgery or bypass capability.
I encourage you to read the complete letter and, if you feel as strongly as I do about the sorry state of health care in our province, I ask you to take action: write your MLA and urge them to 1. Listen to front-line health professionals to learn about what is needed; 2. Invest in proven community care (Primary Care Networks) before expanding the experiments in Family Care Centers; 3. Stop the coercion in negotiations and establish a fair and respectful process for negotiation; and 4. Settle an agreement and restore stability to our healthcare system for the benefit of all.