- First, you identify the symptoms and relieve them where possible.
- Then, you follow those symptoms to their root cause.
- Then, you address the root cause, if possible.
Am I a doctor? No. But I DID stay at a Holiday Inn Express once...
Back to my point... I think we're all aware of the symptoms that this particular patient is exhibiting: Over-crowded Emergency Departments, long waits to see specialists, staff working to - and, in some cases, past - the breaking point. That's just to name a few.
The political response, and the response from the political media and bloggerati, has been predictable: Attack the government. This is all Ed Stelmach's fault, just like the global economic downturn was. If we get rid of the PC's, all of these problems will be gone. Now, let's come up with a funny one-liner incorporating the word "cookie", and focus even more attention on a guy going through personal and professional hell in Dr. Sherman - hey, why not splash his marriage troubles all over the internet and talk some more about his father's impending death? I'm sure he'll LOVE that! (Note to the media: Sometimes, the moral thing to do is to shut off the mic and say "Thanks, I think we've got enough for the story.") But first and foremost, let's solve every single problem in the system by getting rid of the PC's.
The problem with this simplistic approach is that it supposes that the health system is designed perfectly, and that the only problem with it is the people giving it political direction and setting the budget. But I think if we're all being honest with each other, we can admit that Premier Smith would probably govern a RADICALLY different health care system than Premier Swann, Premier Mason or Premier Huff. So, we've got to dig a little deeper for real solutions.
If we're all seeing the same symptoms, then what I want to know from you, the millions of members of E.S. Nation, is this: What do you see as the root causes of these symptoms? Is it board-level governance? A lack of financial resources? Low staff levels? Do we need more facilities, or a different sort of facility altogether?
There are likely as many answers to this question as there are people in this province, but if we're going to try and treat the disease rather than the symptom, we need to have an adult conversation about what the true root causes of these problems are - a conversation that's more nuanced and honest than "the PC's are the problem".
I've read with interest the health proposals from the Wildrose Alliance and from the Alberta Liberals. There are some good short-term and long-term suggestions. I hope to read the proposals from others as well. But those are political parties, whose motivation can't be assumed to be pure any more than the governing party's can be by those in this province who oppose them. While I hope that all of these proposals are made from a place of genuine concern and a genuine desire to fix the system, I'm at LEAST as interested, probably MORESO, in what you - the public - have to say on these issues.
In summer of 2012, no matter WHOM is answering the phones in the Premier's Office, we're all going to be using this public health system. We've got to help fix it. But before we can do that, we've got to figure out what's truly WRONG, so we know what to fix.
So, I put it to you, Nation: What are the root causes of the distress on Alberta's public health system?