Cri­sis in health care can’t be de­nied

Cape Breton Post - - EDITORIAL -

The way I see it, those who do not have a fam­ily doc­tor have sev­eral op­tions:

• Call 811 - In many cases, how­ever, a di­ag­no­sis can’t be de­ter­mined over the phone.

•Visit a walk-in clinic - But there is no guar­an­tee you will even be reg­is­tered that day be­cause the doc­tor must set a max­i­mum on the num­ber of pa­tients he or she can see per day and they don’t make ap­point­ments. A very in­con­ve­nient so­lu­tion for a per­son who has to take time off work or pay a babysit­ter while at­tempt­ing to re­ceive health care.

• Visit the emer­gency dept at the Cape Bre­ton Re­gional Hos­pi­tal (be­cause most other emer­gency de­part­ments are closed) – Once there you may wait up to 10 hours just to get into the treat­ment area.

• Call 911 when your con­di­tion wors­ens - Then an am­bu­lance (if there are any avail­able that day) can take you to the emer­gency depart­ment where a para­medic is re­quired to stay with you (ty­ing up their am­bu­lance) un­til some­one at the hos­pi­tal can find enough time to process you.

Health Min­is­ter Randy Delorey’s most re­cent so­lu­tion is to give fi­nan­cial in­cen­tives to en­cour­age staff to work ex­tra shifts and more hours. That’s not a great so­lu­tion for three rea­sons:

* Many ag­ing doc­tors can­not re­tire or even take time off be­cause they feel an obli­ga­tion to their pa­tients.

* Health-care pro­fes­sion­als have al­ready re­quested a bet­ter “work/ life” bal­ance.

* Pa­tients will wind up be­ing by an over­worked and ex­hausted team of health-care pro­fes­sion­als.

Re­plac­ing hos­pi­tals with com­mu­nity health-care cen­tres is not a so­lu­tion at this time. The main pri­or­ity now should be re­tain­ing the pro­fes­sion­als we have. In or­der to do this, we have to over­come a lot of ob­sta­cles and work with them to find so­lu­tions. How can we at­tract new staff when we can’t keep the staff we have now?

Some politi­cians need to ad­mit our health care is in cri­sis. They need to con­sult with peo­ple on the frontline and they need to stop ig­nor­ing con­cerned cit­i­zens. I hope I en­cour­age oth­ers to speak out pub­licly. You may have a fam­ily doc­tor right now and you may not re­quire health care right now, but re­al­ize your life can change in an in­stant.

Betty Rankin

Port Morien

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