A national report on hospital performance is disappointing when it comes to this province's acute care facilities, say the NDP and Liberals.
"The thing that disappoints me as I read this report, I don't see improvements happening," NDP Leader Lorraine Michael said. "In some cases, we are actually falling back. That's quite disturbing."
"Obviously it is a pretty big concern," Liberal Burgeo-La Poile MHA Andrew Parsons said.
Michael and Parsons were reacting to a report by the Canadian Institute of Health Information (CIHI) released this week that includes information on many Newfoundland and Labrador hospitals.
For instance, the General Hospital at the Health Sciences Centre in St. John's, the province's largest hospital, provincial trauma centre and also a teaching facility, was below the performance range in 2010-11 when it came to the mortality rate for patients who died within 30 days of having a stroke. It also performed below range for patients who died within five days of major surgery.
The hospital was above the performance range for the rate of patients who had to be readmitted following hip replacements, as well as strokes, in 2009-10. But it had fallen below those ranges by the following year.
The range is the way in which CIHI measures the performance of hospitals.
In the meantime, The Telegram asked the CIHI why St. Clare's - St. John's other acute care hospital - was not named in the report. CIHI said St. Clare's submitted its information under the General Hospital - even though it's located in another part of the city - and the data could not be separated. The General Hospital data also includes the Janeway children's hospital, which is in the Health Sciences Complex.
Michael said all the health authorities in the province, especially Eastern Health, should examine their results in the CIHI report, do some interpretative analysis and find out what the problem is.
"This is a red flag to me," she said.
CIHI also examined financial performance and found that in Newfoundland and Labrador, while it costs about $1,100 more to care for an average patient than the rest of the country, is spending no more on administrative services than any other province or territory.
Michael said the cost of care is not surprising because of the logistics that go along with the geographical vastness of this province.
But she said the provincial government has to account for the results it's getting for the money being poured into health care and should be delving into the CIHI results.
Parsons agreed, particularly when it comes to the General Hospital.
"Government needs to take a serious look into this. ... If they don't, they're negligent. They have no choice but to take it seriously," he said.
"Look at what's being done right and where (the hospitals) are below average and what they can do to change this."
He said the Progressive Conservative government spends a lot of time talking about how much money it invests in health care.
"Are they getting the best possible outcomes for the dollar investment?" he asked.
For a look at the Newfoundland hospitals' performance, go online to www.thetelegram.com/FlyingPage/3452/CIHI-hospital-rankings.