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IN THE NEWS: Quebec will hear uranium-protest MDs' concerns

Quebec and anti-uranium MDs to talk
Quebec Health Minister Dr Yves Bolduc has agreed to meet with the 23 doctors who have now announced they are quitting their practices in Sept-Îles, Quebec, to protest the approval of a nearby uranium mining exploration project. [Le Devoir] The number of doctors reached 23 this week after the initial 20 went public last Thursday. [Rue Frontenac]

But the doctors may find themselves in a difficult situation. The Collège des médecins du Québec announced it will open an investigation to determine whether the doctors are in violation of their code of ethics by endangering the lives of their patients by making a political statement. College president Dr Yves Lamontagne told CBC News that physicians are forbidden "from taking part in a concerted action of a nature that would endanger the health or safety of a clientele or population." [CBC News]

The Montreal Gazette criticized the doctors' decision to quit in an editorial. [Montreal Gazette]

Alberta health costs far exceed projected budget
A government program going over budget? What a shock!

In all seriousness, however, the Alberta health system is facing colossal deficits of up to $1 billion or more this year and next. Government programs going over budget isn't news, but when they're $1 billion over? That's a lot of money. Top health bureaucrats reportedly said the provincial health system could run through its current fiscal year's budget by February -- before the next year's budget even arrives. Which would mean the health system could technically be described as being broke.

Alberta Liberal MLA Kevin Taft, the former party leader, however, took issue with the way government officials have handled the news. "Claiming that by February 2010 they will have no cash sends a message that they're going to have to close down hospitals and shut down the whole system, and that's just ridiculous," he told the Journal. "That's just not going to happen, so why create fear unless there is an agenda that fear serves? And that agenda is to create a crisis so that they can potentially dismantle big chunks of our system." [Edmonton Journal]

"When you spend next month's pay cheque on this month's groceries then you're going to run out of cash," said Health Minister Ron Liepert. [CTV Edmonton]

Diabetes care substandard across Canada
Diabetes care fails to meet the recommended level of care, a new Canadian Institute for Health Information study found.

Adults with diabetes are supposed to receive four tests from their physicians, the report said: blood glucose (A1c), urine protein, dilated eye exams, and foot exams. Only 32% of patients had been given all four. That number was only 21% in Newfoundland and Labrador, but it was as high as 39% at the very other end of the country, in BC. [CIHI report: Diabetes Care Gaps and Disparities in Canada (PDF)] [Canadian Press] [Canwest News Service]

Quebec urged to open supervised injection sites
Quebec should open supervised narcotics injection sites like the one in Vancouver, recommended the provincial public-health research agency last week.

Not only that, but the researchers also wrote that they consider the 2008 BC court decision, which shot down the federal government's demand that Vancouver's Insite supervised injection clinic be closed, to be proof positive that legal exemptions are no longer required to open supervised injection sites. [INSPQ report]

Health Minister Dr Yves Bolduc recently told a reporter that he was waiting to see the INSPQ's report before deciding on supervised injection sites. [Rue Frontenac]

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3 comments:

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