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Letter: Slowly nothing happens for Shelburne and the cost rises


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Last night (I am writing this on Wednesday) 175 of us sat through a two hour meeting at the Shelburne Community Center auditorium for the purpose of hearing from the Department of Health (DOH), the latest on the Roseway Hospital Emergency Room (ER) closures. It was a futile and frustrating meeting for everyone, but if nothing else, it did provide a clear insight into what is wrong with our health care system.

The meeting was not a cheap one to hold. The combined salaries of the health executives present (on the stage and in the hall) exceeded well over one million dollars annually (thank you Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) and the Nova Scotia Statement of Public Accounts) and others. Further, their claims for travel expenses at the provincial rate of .4379 cents/kilometer, plus meals and accommodations would have exceeded $ 4000. At least the DOH officials were reimbursed for their suffering while the rest of us were not.

This letter is not to pick a fight with anyone, but rather a plea for common sense to prevail. One of the senior medical people present last night stated - "there is no silver bullet to provide a solution to your problems". The fact that she failed to recognize that our problems were her problems says volumes. Could it possibly be that the senior health people at last night's meeting failed to realize that in fact that they are the silver bullet and that it is their job to provide the level of health care to the residents of Shelburne County that the Canada Health Act says that they have a right to have? If they with their six figure salaries cannot do the job, then they should step aside and let those with the skills and abilities as demonstrated elsewhere in this country to do the job for them. Mr. Glavine please take note. (Mr. Glavine is the minister of health.)

It is important to understand some of the facts that came from last night's meeting (a video tape is available of the meeting for verification):

- not a single goal or objective was set or a date to achieve it

- no explanation was offered as to why fully qualified medical staff was not hired

- no reason for failure to complete or time line was offered for an unknown entity called the medical center

- proposals for solutions to the Roseway ER closure problem were either ignored or not commented on

- no offer or promise to make anything better was put forth

- glaring inconsistences in the levels and kinds of services were noted but not commented on or promised to be acted upon

Just a few minutes ago I received a telephone call about a significant modification to the Roseway Hospital that was done for medical purposes only to have it modified again for office space. Clearly there is not a strong directive as to what the goals and objectives of the health care system are for this area.

As evidenced by last night's meeting, we the residents of Shelburne County love and respect, indeed we owe our lives and well being to the nurses and doctors in the health care system in this county, especially those at the Roseway hospital. However, those DOH officials, both locally and elsewhere in the system (Yarmouth/Halifax), that are responsible for leadership, innovation, creativity, management and the long term stability of the Shelburne County health care environment have a lot to be held accountable for. There are excellent short-term solutions available and there are some even better long term health care solutions. All they have to be is implemented. Why is it not happening?

 

Don Bower

Shelburne

 

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