At first glance any pledge to cut health-care administration is likely going to gain favour with voters, especially if the end result is more money for frontline services.
At first glance any pledge to cut health-care administration is likely going to gain favour with voters, especially if the end result is more money for frontline services. After all, we’ve all seen the bloated wait times and inefficiencies in areas such as long-term care – where hundreds of seniors have been stuck in limbo taking up needed hospital beds while they wait for placement in a long-term facility.
As enticing as that sounds, and may make voters want to rush out for their local Conservative or Liberal candidate, it’s something that requires further examination since it runs the risk of taking decision-making out of local communities and shifting it to Halifax – a place many feel already has too much power.
Should our health-care system look for more efficiencies in administration and the provision of basic services? You’re darn right it should. But, gutting the system of leadership in rural communities will do nothing to make health care more efficient and responsive to the needs of people in rural Nova Scotia.
In the 1990s the former Liberal government of Dr. John Savage pulled the plug on small community hospital boards, consolidating power in a series of regional health boards. Cumberland County was grouped in with Colchester and Pictou counties and the district of East Hants. It didn’t work then, and there is no evidence it would now other than promises it would free up money for more frontline services.
In fact, it didn’t take the Conservative government of John Hamm long to undo Savage’s regionalization of health care with the creation of district health authorities.
The system isn’t perfect and there are ways in which it could be further streamlined while maintaining community input and control over what happens with their health-care dollars.
There have to be other ways of trimming the fat in administration without terminating the patient. Reducing the number of health authorities to just one or two, based in Halifax, would be doing just that.
People in Cumberland County need to know they can call their local health authority to ask a question about an issue at an area hospital. It would seem to be a much better option than calling Halifax to ask a question about health care in Advocate Harbour when the bureaucrat on the phone would probably have to look on a map to figure out just where that is.