Surgeons issue warning on St. Anthony situation

Rob Antle
Send to a friend

Send this article to a friend.

Write letter to candidates in Oct. 27 byelection

Two surgeons in St. Anthony have issued a blunt warning outlining their "grave concerns about the future of health care and particularly surgical services (on) the Northern Peninsula."

Dr. William Fitzgerald and Dr. Massey Beveridge laid out those concerns in a letter to the three candidates in the district's Oct. 27 byelection.

Two surgeons in St. Anthony have issued a blunt warning outlining their "grave concerns about the future of health care and particularly surgical services (on) the Northern Peninsula."

Dr. William Fitzgerald and Dr. Massey Beveridge laid out those concerns in a letter to the three candidates in the district's Oct. 27 byelection.

"This problem impacts accessibility to care, patient safety, wait lists and physician burn-out," the letter notes.

"If the general surgery service here is allowed to fail, there will be preventable deaths, widespread public outrage and a big political mess. This outcome can yet be averted, but to do so will require prompt and definitive political action."

The doctors' comments again inject health care into the political equation in The Straits-White Bay North.

A recent government decision to cut medical services in nearby Flower's Cove sparked local outrage. The cuts have since been partially reversed.

Fitzgerald and Beveridge claim that the current surgical situation is "fragile and not sustainable." To view full letter click here.

There are presently only two of the three needed permanent general surgeons at the Charles S. Curtis Hospital in St. Anthony, the letter notes. Fitzgerald is often away, in his role as president of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, and is set to retire by early 2011.



If prompt action is not taken to recruit a new surgeon, the doctors warn, general surgery could cease.

If that happens, they note, chemotherapy will stop in the region, and air ambulance costs will skyrocket. Referrals to Corner Brook and St. John's will further overburden those centres.

"The public will be justifiably furious and you will have to answer to them."

No action from board, minister

The Labrador-Grenfell Health board doesn't "seem to have the authority to act" on the situation, and attempts to engage the health minister "have as yet yielded no serious action," Fitzgerald and Beveridge note.

"The recent revelation (that) the Department of Health has considered cutting specialist services in St. Anthony, and their precipitous closure of important services in Flower's Cove, raise widespread suspicion that the government is more concerned about saving money than it is about people's health in this region."

Neither doctor could be reached for comment before deadline.

NDP Leader Lorraine Michael - whose office provided the surgeons' letter to The Telegram - said it is time for action.

"To me, it's a very serious picture that's painted here by the surgeons," Michael said.

The Department of Health steered inquiries about the NDP's news release on the issue to Labrador-Grenfell Health, which accused Michael of peddling misinformation and said it is "committed to the recruitment and retention of health professionals."

When the existence of the surgeons' letter later surfaced, Labrador-Grenfell Health officials did not immediately respond to followup questions.


rantle@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Royal College of Physicians, Labrador-Grenfell Health board, Department of Health Charles S. Curtis Hospital NDP

Geographic location: St. Anthony, Northern Peninsula, Canada Corner Brook St. John's

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Thanks for voting!

Top of page

Comments

Comments

Recent comments

  • Bones II
    July 02, 2010 - 13:34

    Graham, all I can say to you is that appearances are often deceiving, lol. I'm well aware of how I appear to you - see my initial statement. I do, however, apologize for confusing you with the racket character. I'm sure you can see how I came to that conclusion. For the unpteenth time, I will outright call you a liar. I'm not really sure what you hope to accomplish by saying you know me when, as a FACT, you do not. Are you hoping to scare me or something? Should I take your words in a threatening manner? What, exactly?

    Two things about this article smell funny, the first is Lorraine's tactics with regards to releasing the letter to the media. The letter was not written to the media, it was addressed to someone else. If these doctors wrote this with the intention of having it slyly released by way of politician, they should ask themselves two things: Why didn't we write this 30 years ago? and Why do we feel it so important to address the concerns of the future when the concerns of the here and now hit us everyday like a brick wall? It's ridiculous to worry about the future when the present is already most of the way down the shi**er already, isn't it?

    The second thing that smells funny is the fact that Lorraine is hoping to score some political points off the backs of individuals directly affected in all aspects of our crappy health care system. It'll be interesting to see if Yvonne jumps on this wagon too, or if the road to Black Tickle is keeping her too busy to notice, lol.

    Sheryl: Lorraine is playing the game by releasing this information and stirring up the public on this very large matter that she has no idea, herself, what to do with. There is no single button that can be pushed to fix what ails NL health care.

    Why is it you can only see out of the little box when you consider the monies received by Rolls Royce? No consideration to the lobs provided or the taxes paid by said jobs? No consideration for any industry spin-offs like research? It IS a 'marine' division, after all, not an automobile outlet, ya know, lol. Do you consider that amount of money a lot, in the great scheme of things? I'm afraid history will be the judge of Williams' legacy, not you or I.




    If you think Williams is making a big mess, just wait until the person who replaces him gets in, lol.

  • Seen him
    July 02, 2010 - 13:30

    Doctors can forget about any kind of a raise once our vindictive leader finds out about this letter. You'll be lucky to get a band aid on the northern penninisula after this issue.

    He doesn't like people playing by his rules.

  • Sheryl
    July 02, 2010 - 13:29

    What the gov't doesn't seem to realize is that it's not that health care is going to collapse at some point in the future, it's that it's collapsing right now! Interestingly, in the surgeons letter they talk about their shortages and challenges and mention there has not been a permanent Internist for years. What that illustrates is that for years the gov't has been failing to provide basic health care services to the people of that area. Note, today there is no internal medicine coverage in Labrador, Burin, Carbonear, Clarenville, and anywhere on the Avalon except for St. John's and those people are stretched past their limit. The Danny Williams Government is unable to provide even basic medical services to the population and instead plays political games with peoples lives. The legacy of Danny Williams is dead people and stupid staffers with failed memories at inquiries into the failed health care system in this province. It's just too bad that people are dying while Danny Williams hands free money to companies like Rolls Royce, that poor, neglected and profitable multi-national. Danny Williams has had more than 6 years to try and work to fix some of these problems in health care and instead he has done nothing but gamble with peoples' lives by insulting nurses and freezing the pay of physicians. There aren't any Internists because they get paid less than half of what they do everywhere else in the country and work twice as much. You'd be nuts to come here and face that. It's similar for General Surgeons. There was an Internist on CBC radio last week that said of last 10 Internists that were trained here, 8 went to Ontario. So, it seems Danny Williams is more interested in subsidizing the training of general internists for Ontario than for his own have province. What we have is an ignorant government. What we have is third-world health care. What we have is a collapsing health care system... today! It's too bad Dr.'s Beveridge and Fitzgerald didn't train as Oncologists, then they would be paid three times more then every other salaried doctor in the province and have some of the lightest workloads in the country. Amazing what bad PR, ignorance and dead people can achieve. If these fine surgeons can just wait for a few more people to die, and get it in the paper, maybe our illustrious Premier will pay attention.

  • Nasty
    July 02, 2010 - 13:27

    Danny wants you all to leave the province so he can employ a whack of foreign doctors at a fraction of what he pays you. Walk out, demand the Canadian Medical Association investigate the negligence of the Williams Government and file for legal action. Simple solution, fight fire with fire. That is all Danny will understand.

  • STOP THE RACKET
    July 02, 2010 - 13:24

    I bet you think this is also a brilliant move on behalf of the Danny Williams Government do you Bones? By the way thanks for the compliment but sorry to burst youir bubble I am not a.k.a. Graham although we do share some not all similar views. Unlike you we dont worship Oil Can Dan neither do we hate him we simply disagree with some not all of his decisions. You however appear to worship the ground he walks on. Oh well thats your right who am I to question your judgement. Hopefully the great people of the Northern Penisula will send Oil Can Dan a clear message on October 27. STOP THE RACKET STOP DANNY WILLIAMS.

  • Taxpayer
    July 02, 2010 - 13:19

    Just have to ask Sheryl, and all the others likeminded what they would do? These guys the ...Haters... come on everyday and have fun bashing the current gov. What would they do? Lets here from the rural brain trust. We currently spend nearly three quarters of our budget on healthcare. Why don't we just offer all the doctors and nurses a million dollars a year to practice their profession, is that what it has come to. The many, many liberal administrations have worked very hard to put us 12 BILLION dollars in the hole, we finally get a gov. who are doing their best to dig us out, and yet they are faced with this constant never ending diatribe. C'mon Sheryl, Graham et al..lets hear your brilliant thesis on what you would if you were in power. Give me a break!

  • Taxpayer
    July 02, 2010 - 13:17

    Latest stats show that there are just over 16,000 people living on the whole Northern Penn. Imagine the difficulties associated with providing services to 16,000 people spread over such a huge geographical area. I would like to know what the GDP of the Northern Penn. is. After you remove the retired people, the gov. workers, those on social assistance, those on employment insurance,those in school, those who are looking for a fishery support program, I wonder how many souls you would have left? I would hazard a guess at around 5 or 6 thousand productive tax paying citizens. Sure, lets build another big school, another big hospital, keep the clinics open 24 hrs. a day, build another arena, yes lets continue to support the great northern penn. Give me a break!

  • Graham
    July 02, 2010 - 13:13

    Relax Bones my friend I am back. Its obvious you missed me. As for Danny Williams well Bones what more can I say than I have been saying on here for what seems like forever. The voters of the Great Northern Penisula hopefull hav ehad enough of the lies and corruption and in the same way they started the so called tory wave they also have the power to at least start turning that wave around. If they stand up and set the example perhaps the rest of us can get the message as well. I have taken some pride in the fact that I dont actually hate anyone but lately Bones Danny Williams and you are starting to make that a very difficult decision to make. You sir I really do pity so that feeling apparently is mutual. In the case of Danny Williams however I havent reached the point yet where I can say I hate the man but its getting easier every day to do just that. By the way Bones my friend your slipping. You almost blew your cover yesterday. I will never tell that has to be your decision..All I can say is that the people of the Northern Penisular need to get out and vote how you vote is entirely up to you. If you want change then vote that way. If your happy with the way things are then vote that way. Have a great day Bones a.k.a. wink wink.

  • Bones II
    July 01, 2010 - 20:24

    Graham, all I can say to you is that appearances are often deceiving, lol. I'm well aware of how I appear to you - see my initial statement. I do, however, apologize for confusing you with the racket character. I'm sure you can see how I came to that conclusion. For the unpteenth time, I will outright call you a liar. I'm not really sure what you hope to accomplish by saying you know me when, as a FACT, you do not. Are you hoping to scare me or something? Should I take your words in a threatening manner? What, exactly?

    Two things about this article smell funny, the first is Lorraine's tactics with regards to releasing the letter to the media. The letter was not written to the media, it was addressed to someone else. If these doctors wrote this with the intention of having it slyly released by way of politician, they should ask themselves two things: Why didn't we write this 30 years ago? and Why do we feel it so important to address the concerns of the future when the concerns of the here and now hit us everyday like a brick wall? It's ridiculous to worry about the future when the present is already most of the way down the shi**er already, isn't it?

    The second thing that smells funny is the fact that Lorraine is hoping to score some political points off the backs of individuals directly affected in all aspects of our crappy health care system. It'll be interesting to see if Yvonne jumps on this wagon too, or if the road to Black Tickle is keeping her too busy to notice, lol.

    Sheryl: Lorraine is playing the game by releasing this information and stirring up the public on this very large matter that she has no idea, herself, what to do with. There is no single button that can be pushed to fix what ails NL health care.

    Why is it you can only see out of the little box when you consider the monies received by Rolls Royce? No consideration to the lobs provided or the taxes paid by said jobs? No consideration for any industry spin-offs like research? It IS a 'marine' division, after all, not an automobile outlet, ya know, lol. Do you consider that amount of money a lot, in the great scheme of things? I'm afraid history will be the judge of Williams' legacy, not you or I.




    If you think Williams is making a big mess, just wait until the person who replaces him gets in, lol.

  • Seen him
    July 01, 2010 - 20:18

    Doctors can forget about any kind of a raise once our vindictive leader finds out about this letter. You'll be lucky to get a band aid on the northern penninisula after this issue.

    He doesn't like people playing by his rules.

  • Sheryl
    July 01, 2010 - 20:17

    What the gov't doesn't seem to realize is that it's not that health care is going to collapse at some point in the future, it's that it's collapsing right now! Interestingly, in the surgeons letter they talk about their shortages and challenges and mention there has not been a permanent Internist for years. What that illustrates is that for years the gov't has been failing to provide basic health care services to the people of that area. Note, today there is no internal medicine coverage in Labrador, Burin, Carbonear, Clarenville, and anywhere on the Avalon except for St. John's and those people are stretched past their limit. The Danny Williams Government is unable to provide even basic medical services to the population and instead plays political games with peoples lives. The legacy of Danny Williams is dead people and stupid staffers with failed memories at inquiries into the failed health care system in this province. It's just too bad that people are dying while Danny Williams hands free money to companies like Rolls Royce, that poor, neglected and profitable multi-national. Danny Williams has had more than 6 years to try and work to fix some of these problems in health care and instead he has done nothing but gamble with peoples' lives by insulting nurses and freezing the pay of physicians. There aren't any Internists because they get paid less than half of what they do everywhere else in the country and work twice as much. You'd be nuts to come here and face that. It's similar for General Surgeons. There was an Internist on CBC radio last week that said of last 10 Internists that were trained here, 8 went to Ontario. So, it seems Danny Williams is more interested in subsidizing the training of general internists for Ontario than for his own have province. What we have is an ignorant government. What we have is third-world health care. What we have is a collapsing health care system... today! It's too bad Dr.'s Beveridge and Fitzgerald didn't train as Oncologists, then they would be paid three times more then every other salaried doctor in the province and have some of the lightest workloads in the country. Amazing what bad PR, ignorance and dead people can achieve. If these fine surgeons can just wait for a few more people to die, and get it in the paper, maybe our illustrious Premier will pay attention.

  • Nasty
    July 01, 2010 - 20:15

    Danny wants you all to leave the province so he can employ a whack of foreign doctors at a fraction of what he pays you. Walk out, demand the Canadian Medical Association investigate the negligence of the Williams Government and file for legal action. Simple solution, fight fire with fire. That is all Danny will understand.

  • STOP THE RACKET
    July 01, 2010 - 20:10

    I bet you think this is also a brilliant move on behalf of the Danny Williams Government do you Bones? By the way thanks for the compliment but sorry to burst youir bubble I am not a.k.a. Graham although we do share some not all similar views. Unlike you we dont worship Oil Can Dan neither do we hate him we simply disagree with some not all of his decisions. You however appear to worship the ground he walks on. Oh well thats your right who am I to question your judgement. Hopefully the great people of the Northern Penisula will send Oil Can Dan a clear message on October 27. STOP THE RACKET STOP DANNY WILLIAMS.

  • Taxpayer
    July 01, 2010 - 20:01

    Just have to ask Sheryl, and all the others likeminded what they would do? These guys the ...Haters... come on everyday and have fun bashing the current gov. What would they do? Lets here from the rural brain trust. We currently spend nearly three quarters of our budget on healthcare. Why don't we just offer all the doctors and nurses a million dollars a year to practice their profession, is that what it has come to. The many, many liberal administrations have worked very hard to put us 12 BILLION dollars in the hole, we finally get a gov. who are doing their best to dig us out, and yet they are faced with this constant never ending diatribe. C'mon Sheryl, Graham et al..lets hear your brilliant thesis on what you would if you were in power. Give me a break!

  • Taxpayer
    July 01, 2010 - 19:57

    Latest stats show that there are just over 16,000 people living on the whole Northern Penn. Imagine the difficulties associated with providing services to 16,000 people spread over such a huge geographical area. I would like to know what the GDP of the Northern Penn. is. After you remove the retired people, the gov. workers, those on social assistance, those on employment insurance,those in school, those who are looking for a fishery support program, I wonder how many souls you would have left? I would hazard a guess at around 5 or 6 thousand productive tax paying citizens. Sure, lets build another big school, another big hospital, keep the clinics open 24 hrs. a day, build another arena, yes lets continue to support the great northern penn. Give me a break!

  • Graham
    July 01, 2010 - 19:51

    Relax Bones my friend I am back. Its obvious you missed me. As for Danny Williams well Bones what more can I say than I have been saying on here for what seems like forever. The voters of the Great Northern Penisula hopefull hav ehad enough of the lies and corruption and in the same way they started the so called tory wave they also have the power to at least start turning that wave around. If they stand up and set the example perhaps the rest of us can get the message as well. I have taken some pride in the fact that I dont actually hate anyone but lately Bones Danny Williams and you are starting to make that a very difficult decision to make. You sir I really do pity so that feeling apparently is mutual. In the case of Danny Williams however I havent reached the point yet where I can say I hate the man but its getting easier every day to do just that. By the way Bones my friend your slipping. You almost blew your cover yesterday. I will never tell that has to be your decision..All I can say is that the people of the Northern Penisular need to get out and vote how you vote is entirely up to you. If you want change then vote that way. If your happy with the way things are then vote that way. Have a great day Bones a.k.a. wink wink.