Christian Conservative Christian "Independent"

I'm an evangelical Christian, member of the CPC, but presently & unjustly exiled to wander the political wilderness.
All opinions expressed here are solely my own.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

The state of Ontario's Healthcare

People, mostly those on the left it seems, keep on accusing me of wanting to implement some sort of a US-style healthcare system here in Canada. For the record, I think the US model SUCKS, and I don't advocate anything of the sort... just read any of my blog posts on healthcare, and you'll see that I've never advocated any other position.

Now, Mr. Tory is proposing a sensible idea in an effort to solve our longstanding problems with wait times. But why is it that people on the left can't seem to understand a simple concept? I DO NOT SUPPORT PRIVATIZING OUR SYSTEM! There's a HUGE difference between "privatization" and private DELIVERY of selected services.

Sometimes, the private sector can do things WAY better than the public sector... sometimes they can do it equally as well, and other times, the public sector is the best means by which a job can be done.

I'll give you a concrete example of sucessful public/private co-operation from my own experience... the first Hospital I worked in had a private company running the IT system... for profit. GASP! Say it ain't so! A private company, working for profit, in an Ontario Hospital! Yep, and the entire Hospital was greatful that we were there. That's because before my company took over, the IT department was run in-house... problem was, it was run by hospital staff. Now that in and off itself was not the problem... the problem was that all the vacancies that came up in the department went NOT to the most qualified person, but to the most senior union type who wanted it. (in fact, if I recall the story correctly, a great candidate was awarded an open job, but then a more senior union person filed a grievence based on her seniority... and was awarded the post instead. When we took over the IT department, she was shuffled into a new IT liason position... where she regularly brought the system to a complete standstill by running massive reports that she had been REPEATEDLY told she was not supposed to run during regular production hours. She was so incompetent, that she was fired shortly after I left the organization) As a direct result of years of combined incompetence, THEIR SYSTEMS EXPERIENCED FAILURES ON A DAILY BASIS. Their file system was corrupted, their e-mail was about 3 years beyond extinct, and staff were used to the regular overhead pages, "Attention: The [blank] system is presently unavailable". ([blank] being the name of the affected system, not an explitive to describe the person's frustration)

Fast forward three years, to right before I was about to leave... the infractructure was almost entirely replaced, and had an ongoing 99.95% uptime record. Overhead pages due to system failures were almost non-existant, and staff confidence in the systems were extremely high. Our helpdesk actually had an 80+% POE (point of entry) call resolution rate, a fantastic achievement for any helpdesk. All that because a private company came in and, for profit, and got the job that needed to be done, done.

Now, you might say that IT and living patients are a totally different case, and I'd agree, but only up to a point. My point is that when there is an identified problem within the healthcare system, steps need to be taken to correct it.

For example, we have a problem with Operating Room availability. How do we address that? One idea is to have more surguries scheduled into the night, but who wants to work nights? (I know staffing is a major problem when it comes to scheduling operations)

Having also worked for a while in Optometery, I know of fully equiped OR's already here in Ontario that are sitting idle a lot of the time... they're used to perform for-profit non-OHIP insured optical procedures, and the owners are more than willing to open their doors to Opthomologists to perform OHIP-funded cataract surgeries. Those Opthomologists would be happy to take them up on that offer, except they can't... because they're not allowed to. The reason the waiting lists are so long for cataract surgeries? Lack of OR time.

There are lots of other simple procedures that could be done by the private sector with little or no risk to patients or to our public sector system... a public sector system which I openly support, and for the record, am happily employed in.

I would never adovcate that we implement any other sort of US-style system, thank you very much... healthcare ought to remain public. However, if the public sector needs some help to deliver these services, there ought not to be a barrier in the way on innovation.

Is this so hard to understand? Is this a concept that threatens our public institutions? Or, is this a concept that could actually help us solve the problems we're facing?

I vote for the latter... so long as I can access it with nothing more than my OHIP card.

Labels: , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home