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Between a rock and a hard place?

Commission a report, then ignore it

With only 94 general practice posts, Prince Edward Island is small, but it's a microcosm of the health budget squeezes being felt around the world. Something needs to be done to arrest the spiralling expenditure ... but what? Time to call in global management consulting firm Hay Group to produce a $200,000 report.

Hay Group, not surprisingly, focussed their attention on one of the province's biggest expenses: doctors. How could the government reduce the amount it spends on doctors? To an accountant, the answer is simple and obvious - have fewer doctors.

That's precisely what the Hay Group is recommending as its report nears completion, and the area in which it finds the most room for cuts is family practice. In fact, Hay suggests cutting the number of GPs on P.E.I. from 94 to as few as 65.

Doing this would naturally require somebody else to shoulder the GPs' burden, and that's what the report recommends, suggesting new roles for nurses, nurse practitioners, and so on.

The province's College of Family Physicians argues it's already adopting these new models. But, says president Dr. Andrew Wohlgemut: "We're not for substituting or getting rid of family physicians and replacing them with other people."

On that issue, it seems, he has friends in high places. On the day the report's recommendations were made public, P.E.I.'s Health Ministry issued a press release trumpeting the hiring of seven new physicians, three of them GPs.

Provincial Health Minister Carolyn Bertram said she won't comment fully on the report until the final draft is submitted to the cabinet in about six weeks, but it seems she's already decided how to address its main recommendation: "We are not cutting doctors' positions," she told the CBC.

Some political realities can still trump even the budget squeeze.

1 comments:

sharon(aka Purley Quirt ) said...

Now that PEI has an operational review ....why leave out an environmental analysis.

http://adaptation.nrcan.gc.ca/posters/ac/images/ac_poster_e.jpg

There's more stress to come in Atlantic Canada.
I say bring on the doctors .