Take discrimination out of health care

Letters to the Editor (The Guardian)
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Editor:

At the recent Health P.E.I. annual general meeting, the slogan that ran with its logo was ‘Safe, quality health care in tight financial times’ — this current government’s way of letting Islanders know that decisions about which services will be provided are made with money in mind.

But is the decision-making process at the Department of Health and Wellness really driven by thoughts of money or is discrimination at the core of P.E.I.’s current health-care system?

We've already seen one blatant example of discrimination controlling the decision-making process in P.E.I.’s lack of policy on safe, timely and effective abortion services. Now we have to wonder, is this an isolated incident or an alarming pattern?

While visiting the legislature last week to get a look at our public servants at work, I heard Conservative MLA James Aylward remind the health minister that the at-risk group receiving the flu vaccination for free should include the homeless.

I followed up with Mr. Aylward to check if a program that would see free vaccinations reaching our homeless was currently in the works. He said it was an initiative he hoped the Department of Health would undertake, and I agree. It seems that in a push to protect those who are vulnerable, folks living on our streets would surely qualify.

I had to wonder, if we agree it's a good idea to offer free vaccinations to our at-risk population, why would we select only some of them?

Are we worried we’ll accidently identify that there is a large number of folks currently homeless on P.E.I.? Are the homeless being judged by this government as not worthy of a free flu vaccination?

Let's get to the business of addressing the health-care needs of all Islanders. In these ‘tight financial times’ we can’t afford the price of discrimination.

Gail Rhyno,

Charlottetown

Organizations: Health P.E.I., Department of Health and Wellness

Geographic location: P.E.I., Charlottetown

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