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Fernando's Hideaway health care reboot
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The Fantabulously Transformative Andrew Furey is so originally magically delightful that he flew off to Fort Mac last week to lure people back to Newfoundland and Labrador.
Danny Williams did the same thing about 15 years ago and with the same inevitable result: not very many people came back.
Not rocket science if you think about it. People want jobs. They want to make decent money and they want some security and stability. Fort McMurray or Saskatchewan or a dozen other places you could name don’t have to run job fairs because there’s no shortage of workers chasing after the jobs their booming economies create.
If there is a job fair you will notice two key differences between what successful governments in booming economies do and what politicians like Danny or Andy do.
First, the government will not be running the job fair. Businesses will. That’s because in those thriving economies with smart governments, business creates sustainable jobs. Government doesn’t because – as we know from bitter and expensive experience – governments suck at picking economic winners. That’s why what the government is doing now with the economy is just more of the same old, bad same old.
Second, they’ll hold a job fair where the economy isn’t booming, which makes sense because in those places, there will be lots of workers waiting around for something to happen. Like here, for example. We all saw those Fort Mac job fairs when the Canadian economy was booming more than 10 years ago.
Furey’s junket was just a waste of real time, like any of these trade shows, budget consultations, or lure-a-nurse-from-India ideas.
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Last week was Wellbeing Week, too. You might have missed out on all the fun. Clearly, Tom Osborne and health transformation leprechaun Pat Parfrey thought it was fun.
Just look at their faces. Da pair look like someone rammed something up in ‘em sideways during their last colonoscopy and forgot to take it out.
Wellbeing Week, with its free entry to The Rooms, is like Furey’s junket. It’s junk. Makes something to talk about because the guv’mint crowd cannot do real stuff to fix the problems in either the economy or health care.
Government by Fernando, for those who remember Billy Crystal’s character from Saturday Night Live, along with the catch phrase that “It’s better to look good than to feel good” or look good than to do good, in the political case.
Or if you want a really old reference, how about The importance of appearing earnest?
“Times are changing. Health care is changing. The focus on health care is changing.” That’s what Osborne told the crowd at the health care transformation update. Two platitudes and then something that sounds.. err… well… funny... odd...off.
You see, the focus of health care *is* health care.
It cannot be, should never be, can never be anything *but* health care.
Then Osborne explained what he meant.
“We are actually seeing excitement now at the administration level, and that is starting to percolate down through some of our health professionals as well.”
Who gives the rat’s derriere what the administrators get excited about? Frankly, the administration of health care is what has been wrong in health care in this province for decades.
Too many bureaucrats doing too much to make sure the focus of health care has *not* been on, you know, care.
And to adapt a phrase Parfrey’s students might recall from their time under his tutelage at the Medical School, that’s the village idiocy of health care in Newfoundland and Labrador. Parfrey and Sister Liz’s transformation circus brought together all the village people who have perpetuated the idiocy for decades and asked them what they thought would be good to fix the problems *they* had created.
Well, more of the same, they sez … and so off Osborne and the rest of the politicians went to do more of the same, promising a different outcome, which is, if you recall, the definition of… idiocy.
Maybe we could figure out how to fix health care by asking the people actually delivering the care. Those health professionals who are only now getting sort of vaguely excited because the bureaucrats are tickled pink. Too many of them are bailing from the system for other provinces or, like nurses, heading to the private sector so Osborne and Parfrey can hire them at at double or triple the pay while Parfrey goes on a junket to The Motherland to see if anyone over there wants to come here and work in the system long enough to move somewhere else.
Or maybe ask patients.
Making One Big Bureaucracy - the *only* thing Pat and his Village has done and will ever do - made precisely no difference at all to the actual care anyone has received in Newfoundland and Labrador.
There isn’t a single statistic you can find that shows *any* meaningful improvement in care or access to care over the past five years. It still takes weeks to see any primary care provider even in the health care transformational delivery collaborative care teams or whatever name the bureaucrats are using for them these days.
And if you have a chronic disease, like inflammatory arthritis, for example, expect things to be about as they have always been. Long waits for a referral to get a specialist - upwards of a decade later would not be odd - and if you have not died in the meantime, you might get one, long after better management would have halted the progress of your disease, given you a better quality of life, made you more productive, and also not cost the health care system for all the knock-on consequences of your chronic disease.
So, if the bureaucrats are excited about changes to the focus of health care, that’s never a good thing. And if the politicians use their excitement as an indicator of changes in the health system… well… just remember who wrote the words for the politician to say.
‘Cause if you asked health professionals or patients, none of them would be seeing any signs of excitement about anything at all.