VIHA (Vancouver Island Health Authority, a.k.a. Island Health) published the ad below in the local Nanaimo newspaper. Can you read it? It’s illegible. The ad says ‘use your ED wisely’. VIHA wants people to stop using the Emergency Department at your local hospital for ‘frivolous’ health concerns.
The emergency department at the Nanaimo Hospital is a good starting point for this discussion. Their admission process is presided over by a ‘gatekeeper’ who decides whether a person will be seen or not. How does she come to this decision? Does she take their pulse? Does she assess their injuries? No. She looks a person up and down and decides like St. Peter whether they’re worth saving.
If someone has five star health insurance and claims to have received a minor cut on the job, then she will usher them through without a second to spare. Anyone else with a serious health concern and who falls into any of the following categories:
- old and living on a fixed pension
- First Nations
- Corrections inmate
are treated with complete disdain and put on the bottom of her priority list. It doesn’t matter if a patient is brought in by an ambulance. She’s going to make them wait. Remember, the gatekeeper is god.
If you come to the Emergency Department on a holiday or weekend there is no one there except the gatekeeper.
Once a person gets passed the gatekeeper, you hope they’ll come across a student who might not know a whole lot but at least they seem to care. The regular ones treat patients like hogs in a factory farm. The only difference is that a factory farm is usually cleaner. Some of these health care workers are twitchy and irritated. Is that the result of being overworked? Perhaps some regular drug testing should be a requirement. They shunt patients off from room to empty room. Sometimes they forget where they put someone.
Sometimes, one of these folks gets curious as to who is behind a curtain. Oh, the patient’s nearly dead, would you look at that. Time to call up the helicopter or the ambulance and cart them off to another hospital so they can’t be included in their list of daily death stats.
VIHA needs to shape up.
- Stop wasting taxpayers money on useless ads.
- Skim off the layers of management at the top.
- Audit doctor overbilling. Ontario is tackling this issue.
- Improve the gatekeeper/admitting process in the ED. The current situation creates a bottleneck.
- Treat everyone who comes into the hospital with respect.
- Enforce strict cleaning standards (ie bring back the regular hospital janitors before it was outsourced) Why do you think people have to come back? It’s so dirty that people keep getting infected.