Opposition calls on government to heed report on hospitals

Barb Sweet
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The Health Sciences Centre in St. John's was one of the hospitals discussed in a recent report by the Canadian Institute of Health Information. - Telegram file photo

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.


Organizations: Canadian Institute of Health Information, General Hospital, NDP Health Sciences Centre

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador, St. John's

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Recent comments

  • Charles
    April 09, 2012 - 10:48

    Do like i done...go undercover...you be surprise what you will find...in the Health care system...Why it not working...Money not the problem...

  • taxpayer
    April 08, 2012 - 11:13

    Perhaps the regional health authority board chairs should be asking the CEO's for the analysis and action plan to address the report findings. Afterall, the boards hire the CEO's; not the government.

  • Just my two cents
    April 08, 2012 - 11:12

    Great job Vickie. How long has it been now? I liked the Healthcare System when it was controlled by the church, at least there was compassion. More money = bad service. Whats up with that.

  • mom
    April 08, 2012 - 09:40

    I wonder if older population could have anything to do with these results and if that was taken into consideration.

  • William Daniels
    April 08, 2012 - 05:48

    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. Hey joe, This sounds like an idea.

  • Joseph McGrath
    April 07, 2012 - 16:24

    I thought that opening the House would be of major benefit to the 2 opposition parties not only to oppose but also put foward some solid ideas of their own as to how things might be improved for the good of NL.Sadly I have to say that to date the opposition is a total failure and have not put forward any new ideas or alternate plan/s to help the people of this province.To see the "ORACLE OF SIGINAL HILL",Ms.Michael and that MAW Mouth Parsons condemning every single item that comes forward is just plain boring and non contributing.Voters are not interested in having an opposition who jump quickly to condemn every single government move or every single report on a government operation such as our hospitals.IMHO Health Care is good in this Province and people are trying daily to improve it.Doctors and other Health Professionals must be sick of the "GAS BAGS"screaming of the opposition.If the opposition got a better way lets hear it.I am no great fan of this PC government but I think that maybe we got the best available and they are trying to do something for the good of the people who live here.The same can be said for development of the Lower Churchill where we have seen the failure of the PUB,the whining of ex Civil Servants and other" ARM CHAIR EXPERTS" condemn and condemn.Enough of this ANAL gas and Negative Vibes from the opposition and others. Let"s hear some real alternatives if they have any.If not"SHUT UP".!!!!!