Metro column: Province misses the point and shoots the messenger
I’m not sure if this will become a regular occurrence or not, but because of today’s column’s focus on a provincial issue – instead of the regular civic issues – my regular Metro column was published in both Metro Calgary and Metro Edmonton.
So let me get this straight: Not caring enough about the patients’ comfort and potentially endangering lives via long emergency-room wait times is something the Alberta government can let slide.
But enjoying a cookie on a YouTube video and sending a criticism-filled email are offences that will get you fired? Fired quicker than … than … well, certainly quicker than an ER wait.
We all know our healthcare system needs improvement, but I can’t help but worry about it when I see such priorities so clearly backwards.
Let’s start with Stephen Duckett’s “resignation” as CEO of Alberta Health Services. How will Duckett’s departure help improve ER wait times?
I’m guessing if we took a time from last week and compare it to the length of a wait next week, the numbers will pretty much be the same. So what does letting him go accomplish?
It reminds me of the Alberta government’s master plan to improve the image of the oilsands.
Instead of investing in helping oil companies’ improve their technology to better protect the environment or creating incentives for these companies to tackle this task faster, the government chose to spend $25 million on a public-relations campaign, which included billboards in New York’s Times Square.
We’re two years on since the announcement of this program and we’re still waiting for the never-to-come benefits of it.
If you have a run-down house, you don’t just slap a new coat of paint on it and expect the water taps to suddenly work again.
This fundamental misunderstanding of the problem can be seen in Duckett’s departure, too. Instead of fighting a PR battle by parting ways with the CEO, why not just improve ER wait times?
If the government were to do this, I guarantee no one would be remixing Duckett’s cookie comments for Internet giggles anymore.
The same holds true for MLA Raj Sherman’s getting the boot from the PC caucus. Certainly the premier now has one less contrarian voice in the room, but how is this a good thing?
In no way does Sherman’s ouster address a single one of his criticisms about the government’s handling of the ER-wait-time issue.
Not to mention, why would you want fewer dissenting voices around you? Disagreement breeds innovation. The only thing surrounding yourself with yes-men has ever bred is delusion.
With Duckett gone, AHS and the government will spend their time training the new guy or finding a replacement or plotting how to navigate their newly created political minefield.
In short, everything but addressing ER wait times.
Ask Duckett or Sherman and they will tell you shortening ER wait times won’t be an easy task, but at least they were trying, which is more than we can say for most anyone else at this point.
Calgary Original: http://www.metronews.ca/calgary/local/article/702660–province-misses-the-point-and-shoots-the-messenger
Edmonton Original: http://www.metronews.ca/edmonton/local/article/702709–province-misses-the-point-and-shoots-the-messenger