Pictou-Advocate-opinion

Health authority should be honest in self-assessment

Opinion

To the Editor:

We are privileged to live in a place with free healthcare provided by capable, dedicated professionals. But … and there is a but … our healthcare system — the system these professionals are forced to work within — is letting all of us down.

Within Canada, Nova Scotia ranks poorly in terms of wait times and overall health outcomes. Canada in turn ranks poorly against other developed countries. In fact, Canada was recently ranked 9th in a study of 11 ‘rich countries’. Not good.

Imagine my surprise when I hear the Nova Scotia Health Authority (“NSHA”) — the organization responsible for providing health services — say they are doing a good job.

That’s a problem. Or at least a symptom of a problem. We need the people with the power to be honest in their assessment of themselves.

The fact is that we can do better. We have the tools. But we need the leadership. There are immediate, high level changes that the Minister can and should demand.

First, the lack of accountability in the system must be addressed. We need to be able to measure results and then hold people accountable when we fall short.

Second, there must be a real mechanism for healthcare professionals to influence how things are done and for patients to be able to speak up and be heard (!) when it is time to say “this is not good enough”.

Finally, while politicians must focus on results they must focus on the right results and stop interfering in the day-to-day operations. When I see the Minister claiming victory for money “saved” in healthcare it makes me wonder if they understand the “at what cost” side of things.

Positive change is possible but it will require a Minister stepping up. We have a new one. I wish him well.

Tim Houston

MLA, Pictou East

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