Sometimes it's fun to play 'connect the dots' with news headlines.
And the headlines last night (June 18) on the local CBC news site really caught my eye. Here's the story line-up:
Williams slams cancer inquiry lawyers again
Premier Danny Williams has again publicly criticized the workings of the Cameron inquiry. more »
Patient care at risk, resigning surgeon says
A Central Newfoundland surgeon who resigned suddenly Friday, said in a statement Wednesday that he quit because he has been overworked for years, and feels chronic understaffing is jeopardizing patient care. more »
Single obstetrician for 2 N.L. hospitals puts women at risk, MD says
Plans to reduce summer obstetrician service in central Newfoundland may be a recipe for disaster, according to a local physician. more »
What do these stories have in common?
On the one hand, we've got Premier Williams sputtering about the inquiry again... An inquiry into a major malfunction of the health care system. On the other, well, two hands, we have clear signals that Rome is still burning - and another health care crisis looms - even as the emperor prattles on.
Just last week, Premier Williams also slammed the Newfoundland and Labrador Medical Association for not keeping its doctors in line, even though the special package negotiated directly with some pathologists and oncologists created ridiculous disparities between doctors with the same training and responsibilities.
Williams and his health minister made it clear that the deal was not a "template", and that other doctors would have to wait until next year's contract negotiations to discuss salary and working conditions.
As if he had that luxury.
As demonstrated by the stories above, the entire system is under duress in crisis, even. The premier cannot will the problem away, just because doctors have a contract.
I am aware that doctors seldom receive public sympathy in times like this. Many people think they are already overpaid. "If doctors don't like conditions here, they should move to Ontario or Alberta," wrote one online commenter, without a trace of irony.
And that's the problem. Doctors are leaving, and working conditions are better elsewhere; such that recruitment here is next to impossible.
The public will not be sympathetic to the plight of doctors until doctors actually start leaving, and clinics begin closing their doors. Then it will suddenly be a major issue for them.
I would hope that the government doesn't wait that long to address the issue.
And why is the premier so preoccupied with going around telling us what makes him unhappy; what causes him disdain?
I, for one, don't give a fiddler's fart about such things.
If the premier spent even half the time trying to fix problems in our health care system (for starters) as he did caterwauling and complaining, we'd all be much better off.