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It’s been a busy couple of weeks on wait times

On Tuesday May 5th, I met with the New Brunswick deputy minister, Don Ferguson in Fredericton with Mike McBane, the coordinator of the Canadian Health Coalition and Debbie Lacelle, co-chairperson of the New Brunswick Health Coalition. We also met with assistant deputy ministers: Jean-Marc Depuis (Planning, sustainability, and e-health), Roberte O’Reagan, Executive Director Hospital Services, and Kelli Simmonds, Executive Director Research, Planning, Evaluation, and Policy. The meeting went very well. I gave a presentation on the application of queueing theory to reduce waits and delays in our system and then we had a frank talk about public sector solutions to wait times.

We were able to make a forceful case for these solutions and alerted them about the pitfalls of private delivery. I hope that I might be able to help the NB government develop their approach to health system waits and delays.

We were supposed to meet with the Health Minister, Michael Murphy, as well but he cancelled on the previous Friday afternoon and offered us 15 minutes on May 6th. It wasn’t possible for Mike McBane and me to change our schedules but we may be able to come back and finally meet with the minister on the third try.

The afternoon of the 5th Mike McBane rented the last car available in Fredericton and drove to Charlottetown where we met about 70 people for a Rally hosted by the Prince Edward Island Health Coalition. On the morning of Wednesday May 6th Mike McBane, Mary Boyd, and I met with Minister of Health and Social Services, Douglas Currie and deputy minister of health, Keith Dewar. We had an excellent meeting with these folks and were re-assured that PEI has no interest in privatizing its system. We spent an hour with the minister and nearly 2 hours with the deputy. I left them with an offer to help them further with access and quality issues.

The Current Monday May 11, 2009 Health Care Wait Times

This week CBC Radio’s The Current did one hour (two one-half hour blocks) on waiting lists for health care on Monday May 11, 2009. I was on for the whole hour with host Anna Maria Tremonti and Dr. Robert Ouellet, president of the CMA.

(Unfortunately this episode is now unavailable online.)

Having fun in PEI!

Mary Boyd and others did a wonderful job organizing the meeting and afterwards Mike, Mary, and I went back to Leo and Vangie Broderick’s place and gorged ourselves on lobsters. Thank you so much for your down East hospitality. The lobster fishery is in terrible trouble this year and the PEI fishers have no buyers. So do your patriotic duty and eat a PEI lobster today. Here’s a picture as the feast is about to get under way.

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Charlottetown May 5, 2009. Vangie Broderick, Leo Broderick, Michael Rachlis, Mary Boyd

The Charlottetown meeting was opened and closed by local band “Smothered in Hugs”. PEI is full of talented musicians but these guys are something special! Hey Toronto they’re going to be at the Horseshoe June 16th and then the North by Northeast Music festival after that. For folks in the Ottawa area they will be playing Zaphod’s June 15th.

Described by caption.
Charlottetown May 5, 2009. From the left: Mike McBane, coordinator Canadian Health Coalition, Smothered in Hugs (Josh Byrne, Andrew Murray, Todd MacLean, Ryan Crane, Aaron Crane), Michael Rachlis
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