Hospital rally was all about politics
There is no question in my mind that the rally at the hospital on Aug. 22 was indeed a political rally rather than a health-care rally as citizens were led to believe.
If Conservative MLA Elizabeth Smith-McCrossin had not refused Mayor David Kogan permission to speak at that gathering, and then speaking at length herself, the perception may have been different.
But that wasn’t the case, and in a truly amateur move wiped out any good that might have come from that effort to save our hospital and basic health care in this area.
It didn’t surprise me at all, and because I fully suspected that was going to happen, I decided to not attend. From what I have read of what happened at the gathering, I think I made the right decision! (BTW, I would say the same thing about any politician who acted this way, regardless of what political party he/she represented.)
I enjoyed a discussion about our health-care woes a few weeks ago with a person who really is well versed in the topic.
I will not reveal his name, as some small thinkers in this area might cause repercussions for him, and also because his identity is unimportant.
He told me that a pretty good number of doctors have come here to learn about the possibilities of joining the medical staff in this area.
He stated that unfortunately, much of the information they are given by their tour guides is presented negatively and does not tend to encourage them to come here.
That also doesn’t surprise me! I am willing to bet that these people who show visiting doctors around our town and area are not trained for that duty, and thus the message they give is confusing and disjointed.
The people heading up this effort should be pursuing the task with trained guides who are able to get away from personal prejudices and the use of negative phrases, and all should give the same story in essentially the same manner.
If the method is good enough for museum guides and tourist guides, it should definitely be the system used here.
One of the things my informant told me really blew me away. He stated that most doctors who were considering coming here decided against it when they discovered that Nova Scotia pays doctors different rates depending on where they choose to live, and that this area is among the lowest pay levels in the province.
I had a great deal of trouble with that idea, and I know new doctors would also find that unacceptable.
I always thought that medical people were paid rates based on their professional education, and not ever on where they choose to practice.
Under our system, doctors in Halifax are paid the highest rate, and doctors living at the far ends of the province are paid lower rates.
No wonder we don’t get them coming here!
I have been calling for the use of nurse practitioners, or retired armed forces medics, for a good number of years now, and, as usual, my suggestions fall on deaf ears.
But that idea could be very valuable if clinics were also established throughout the county, thus bringing the first level of health care closer to the citizens who need it.
My idea is to send most people who need medical attention to the clinic closest to where they live.
At that level, a nurse practitioner would assess their needs, and then either treat them appropriately or send them to a higher level of service, likely the hospital. that should seriously reduce the long wait times people are experiencing at emergency in the Cumberland Regional Health Care Centre.
Only those people who really need that level of attention would actually be referred there. Such an effort should result in much less wait time and thus a more positive experience.
Finally, I truly believe that people should be charged a small service fee for accessing health care in Nova Scotia.
I know that idea is very unpopular, but we have too few people paying taxes in Nova Scotia, and there just isn’t enough money in the provincial coffers to keep on paying such high fees to doctors, high salaries to nurses and other support staff, high expenses to keep hospital doors open, and so on.
Reality is a hard taskmaster, and this is one of them.