The Mismanagement Saga in Health Care

Nipawin - October 22, 2000 - by: Mario deSantis

the system
is reforming itself

Finally there is convergence of opinion about health care and I am pleased to recognize that
The StarPhoenix along with many researchers across Canada come aboard with our ancient
and reiterating opinion that our health care system is mismanaged. In the Health system
bows to market(1) we find the nightmare we are presently undergoing: the departure of
neurosurgeons, of anesthesiologists, of pediatricians and other medical specialists. And to
summarize our Saskatchewan's scenario, the authors of this article state that while commissioner
Ken Fyke is busy asking ordinary residents on how to reform the system, the system is
reforming itself in response to economic market forces. Also, these authors state that we
need new leaders who can prescribe strong medicine rather than "push more placebos in
the form of poorly designed health districts or meaningless studies."



and structural nature

Commissioner Ken Fyke has not understood yet that the health care problems are of a
leadership and structural nature and has creatively stated "We can pay for the service
by raising taxes through the public sector, we can bring additional revenue in through
premiums, or... user fees(2) ." In the meantime the commissioner will be sending 400,000
surveys to Saskatchewan homes, as well as holding TV forums, maintaining a web site, and
setting up a 1-800 number(3) . Just to have an indication of one direct cost of this study
we can multiply the 400,000 surveys by the nominal unit cost of $1 per survey and we
have a cost of $400,000. And I am not sure if these $400,000 are part of Ken Fyke's
$2 million budget.



times have increased

Dr. John Horne, a Winnipeg health economist and advisor to the Canadian Institute for
Health Information, has said "We know we have too few nurses coast to coast. We have
too few physicians, particularly specialty physicians. We have too few pharmacists, too
few lab technologists, too few ultrasound techs and respiratory techs. There's an emerging
shortage of health care workers(4)." In the last three years health care spending has increased
by 22% yet our surgical waiting times have increased, and they are still increasing in



capital equipment funding

According to the Canadian Institute for Health Information most of the new spending
has been used on capital projects. Dr. Brent Burbridge, head of medical imaging for the
College of Medicine at the University of Saskatchewan, said there is a "gross deficit"
of capital equipment funding in many provinces. "Things are desperate. I don't believe
we are providing state of the art care here, I can tell you that. And that's because we don't
have the most current equipment(6)."



misuse of

In the last years we have experienced the downsizing of our health facilities, and as a
consequence a sizeable portion of the above mentioned 22% increase in health care
spending has been allocated for the implementation of obsolete Information Technology
systems. And in Saskatchewan this system is called the Saskatchewan Health Information
System (SHIN), a system which has pumped approximately $40 million into the sewage(7),
not to speak about the lateral and consequential misuse of health resources.



saga of
health care

The saga of health care mismanagement is continuing and we will be ready to tell you
additional stories.


Health system bows to market, OPINIONS, October 13, 2000, The StarPhoenix, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan


First report outlines health care challenges, CBC Saskatchewan, Web Posted | Oct 6 2000 9:35 PM EDT


First report outlines health care challenges, CBC Saskatchewan, Web Posted | Oct 6 2000 9:35 PM EDT


$64-billion insufficient to stop bleeding, Brad Evenson, National Post, October 12, 2000


Surgical waiting game continues: Former task force members lament slow progress in shortening province's waiting lists, by Murray Mandryk, The StarPhoenix, October 14, 2000, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan


X-Ray Labs dangerously outdated. Radiologists sound alarm: Equipment so archaic that even Cambodian refugee camp doesn't want it, Tom Arnold, National Post, October 12, 2000


Saskatchewan Health Care: Confirmation Of The Most Mismanaged System In Canada, by Mario deSantis, October 12, 2000