- SASKATOON — The incoming president of the Canadian Medical Association says this country's health-care system is sick and doctors need to develop a plan to cure it.
Dr. Anne Doig says patients are getting less than optimal care and she adds that physicians from across the country - who will gather in Saskatoon on Sunday for their annual meeting - recognize that changes must be made.
"We all agree that the system is imploding, we all agree that things are more precarious than perhaps Canadians realize," Doing said in an interview with The Canadian Press.
"We know that there must be change," she said. "We're all running flat out, we're all just trying to stay ahead of the immediate day-to-day demands."
- VANCOUVER — Vancouver patients needing neurosurgery, treatment for vascular diseases and other medically necessary procedures can expect to wait longer for care, NDP health critic Adrian Dix said Monday.
Dix said a Vancouver Coastal Health Authority document shows it is considering chopping more than 6,000 surgeries in an effort to make up for a dramatic budgetary shortfall that could reach $200 million.
“This hasn’t been announced by the health authority … but these cuts are coming,” Dix said, citing figures gleaned from a leaked executive summary of “proposed VCH surgical reductions.”
The health authority confirmed the document is genuine, but said it represents ideas only.
“It is a planning document. It has not been approved or implemented,” said spokeswoman Anna Marie D’Angelo.
Dr. Brian Brodie, president of the BC Medical Association, called the proposed surgical cuts “a nightmare.”
“Why would you begin your cost-cutting measures on medically necessary surgery? I just can’t think of a worse place,” Brodie said.
According to the leaked document, Vancouver Coastal — which oversees the budget for Vancouver General and St. Paul’s hospitals, among other health-care facilities — is looking to close nearly a quarter of its operating rooms starting in September and to cut 6,250 surgeries, including 24 per cent of cases scheduled from September to March and 10 per cent of all medically necessary elective procedures this fiscal year.
The plan proposes cutbacks to neurosurgery, ophthalmology, vascular surgery, and 11 other specialized areas.
As many of 112 full-time jobs — including 13 anesthesiologist positions — would be affected by the reductions, the document says.
“Clearly this will impact the capacity of the health-care system to provide care, not just now but in the future,” Dix said.
And in Britain...
- A young mother gave birth on a pavement outside a hospital after she was told to make her own way there.
Mother-of-three Carmen Blake called her midwife to ask for an ambulance when she went into labour unexpectedly with her fourth child.
But the 27-year-old claims she was refused an ambulance and told to walk the 100m from her house in Leicester to the city's nearby Royal Infirmary.
Her daughter Mariah was delivered on a pavement outside the hospital by a passer-by, just before ambulance crews arrived.
Today the Trust that runs the hospital said it would look into any complaint made about the advice and care the 27-year-old received.
Ms Blake said she started going into labour at about 7.15am on Sunday, August 2.
She said: "I phoned up the Royal Infirmary, it's just across the road, and they said to go into a hot bath, and then to make my way over there.
"I went into the bath and realised she was going to come quickly. I didn't think I'd be able to make it out of the bath, so I phoned the maternity ward back and told them to get an ambulance out.
'They said they were not sending an ambulance and told me I had had nine months to sort out a lift.'
Experienced mother Ms Blake today said she knew she had to get herself out of the bath and try to get to the hospital.
'The friends with me would have had no idea what to do. I knew at that point that she was nearly here so I had to get out of the house,' she said.
'I thought if I got across the road then at least somebody would be able to help me.
'I left the house and got to the end of the close, but there was no-one around to help.'
Eventually Ms Blake and her friends enlisted the help of a physiotherapist who happened to be passing on her way to work.
She dialled 999 and helped deliver baby Mariah while waiting for emergency services.
She even helped remove the cord from around the tot's neck, Ms Blake said today.
She said: 'I don't really remember much after that. Mariah was born, then the paramedics arrived then after that the midwives arrived. I think I went into shock.
'It's just lucky that the physio was there.'