Community involvement in health care decisions is fundamental to putting patients first and to improving our health care system. In the wake of many recent poorly considered Pallister government health care decisions which have not had community input, it is clear that we need a process which puts community input into decisions made by our provincial government and regional health authorities. Below are my comments from a press conference earlier today in front of the Victoria Hospital.
"We are here today in front of the Victoria Hospital, the location of the Mature Women’s Centre which is being closed by the Pallister government. Closing the Mature Women’s Centre is a bad decision. It has an incredible health care team – doctors, nurses, a pharmacist, a dietitian and a kinesthesiologist – which does excellent work and uses approaches which keep women healthier and are at lower cost than traditional approaches. It is one example of recent arbitrary and indiscriminate Pallister government cuts which are not taking community needs into consideration.
I am here today to call on the Pallister government to move to elected regional health authority boards which are elected by the people as we do with school boards. I also call on Pallister’s government to move away from global budgets for RHAs to budgets based on services delivered. These two changes, to elected regional health authority boards and budgets based on services delivered will provide accountability to our communities for delivery of services and accountability financially.
In the present system, RHA boards are appointed by the Minister and are accountable to the Minister. When a board members disagrees with the government the appointee can be removed. In the last few months, board members have been completely ineffective in speaking up for community needs. Elected RHA boards will be able to speak up for community needs. At the same time moving away from global budgets to budgets based on services delivered provides the financial accountability needed – accountability which has been lacking under appointed boards and global budgets.