Having the courage to manage health care wisely

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Editor:

The Conservative health critic's suggestion that the minister of health, Doug Currie, take over managing health-care delivery in P.E.I. is an example of an outdated approach from the past.

That approach has led to major waste, building three hospitals in West Prince for political reasons, duplication of resources to satisfy regional demands and a system that is inefficient, expensive and no longer sustainable.

We are at a crisis point, where physicians are being pushed to provide a level of after-hours care that is burning them out, leading some to leave, and leaving vacancies that may never be filled. We have burned out many rural physicians by forcing them to man small emergency departments. We are doing the same to some specialists working in small groups.

Many family physicians have fled from the rural areas to the city to survive. Our province is millions over budget, and over 40 per cent goes to health.

The health-care system is huge and complex. The day-to-day management of service delivery requires considerable expertise that we are building in Health P.E.I. The current government had courage to consolidate health into the ‘one Island health-care system' in its first mandate. It will be wise to summon the courage to accept the recommendations of the Health P.E.I. board as it tries to rein in spending, and make delivery more cost-effective. This absolutely must happen.

The opposition health critic, Mr. Aylward, does not have the knowledge or experience to make credible comments on how to manage this vital service. He and his party should carefully examine the province's fiscal reality and future challenges before playing the old-style political games with our health care.

Dr. Ian Reid,

surgeon,

Queen Elizabeth Hospital

 

Organizations: Health P.E.I. board, Elizabeth Hospital

Geographic location: West Prince, Iceland

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