Universal Health Care Woes – How governments save money

Alberta Health Services - Edmonton Journal

An Alberta doctor’s letter to his patients gives an apt description of what a government can do to patients in an attempt to cut back on health care costs. While the letter describes Alberta Health Services, it gives an example of how governments lie to the public, while hurting patients.

The doctor’s letter states that the government is deceiving the public, in an attempt to convince those that listen that it alone knows best what is good for patients. It tries to destroys the efforts individuals, which are experts in the delivery of healthcare. It fails to listen to serve their own purpose.

Below is the reprint of the letter published in the Calgary Herald:

A doctor’s letter to his patients:

By Mark Ewanchuk, Edmonton Journal April 2, 2013

EDMONTON – 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.

Remember regionalization from the Klein era? No more hospital boards, which were replaced by 17 health regions, which were later consolidated into nine.

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.

Most people are probably not aware of these inconsistencies, and why would they be? In fact, physicians often provide care at more than one hospital on a nightly basis to ensure that you are provided timely access to the care that you require.

Unfortunately, if the resources such as highly skilled nurses, equipment and supplies that you need are not available at the hospital to which you are admitted, you might require urgent transfer to another hospital to receive this expert care.

Or, if not already performing surgery in the operating room, the physician might travel to your hospital to assess you in person, sometimes even bringing the necessary equipment with her or him or sending it separately in a taxi.

Don’t believe me? Call Yellow Cab and ask: “How many times has your company transferred essential surgical instruments between hospitals?”

These transfers happen all the time. Do they put patients at risk? Absolutely. But we on the front lines do the best we can with what we have been given, and fortunately for our patients we are often successful.

We have also survived the utter detonation of the former Capital Health Authority and the creation of Alberta Health Services during the time of Health Minister Ron Liepert and Premier Ed Stelmach.

Now, just as those of us on the front lines were starting to get our bearings and get back on our feet, the government is again threatening us with its next great revolution: the family care clinic.

What is a family care clinic? No one really knows — except perhaps Premier Alison Redford. She promoted the clinic in her successful leadership bid against Gary Mar, who had introduced the very successful primary care networks.

Then she promised 140 of these clinics during last year’s election campaign. Lo and behold, amid all the gloom and doom of this year’s budget was $110 million for the unproven and still to be designed family care clinics. Read More- Edmonton Journal

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