Archive for November, 2011

Hospital Cuts: Is It Really A Surprise?

Talks after a meeting in the Miramichi last night are suggesting that those at the meeting were told by the health minister that there would be a loss of 36 hospital beds as well as the Trauma 3 status for the hospital.

This is getting beyond outrageous and starting to get to criminal negligence.

During the election all parties repeated over and over that the Cons had cut and/or tried to cut many rural hospitals during their last tenure and that there was little indication that they would do any different this time around.

During the election Alward repeatedly said “There will be no cuts to hospitals” He repeatedly promised that health care would be left alone.

The first budget the Finance minister released ordered (not requested, ordered) ALL departments to reduce their budgets by 2% this year and again next year.

You can not cut 2% out of either Health or Education without cutting frontline services and even likely closing doors.  While as of yet the Education department has avoided doing much in the way of closing schools, the health department has seen almost the entire value of the 2% cuts showing up in the front line services. From the drastic cuts being made to front line services, it appears to me anyway that these cuts are almost exclusively on the backs of the front line workers and much of that in the rural areas. This is unnacceptable. At no time should any cuts in health or education end up damaging the front lines.

Many reports list our province as among the most obese in Canada, our literacy scores are middle of the road at best. These are both serious reasons to not decrease funding. We may perhaps need to improve some programs so our health is not as serious an issue and the same to our education system to raise our literacy and math scores, but we should never be cutting front line services in two programs that are so vital to the population as these.

There is not likely sufficient room for a 2% cut in administration levels however there is likely room for efficiencies in the way various things are done and any and all cuts realistically need to be made through efficiencies not through layoffs and shutdowns.

All Political Parties in this province warned people that the Cons would attack health care again, We all warned that hospitals would be closed and services would be downgraded. And rather unfortunately, regardless of any of the lies that Alward told us, We are well on the way to being completely right and that is going to hurt us as a province and us as a people extremely badly. They may not be worse then the Liberals but they are also no better and there are other options. Now is the time to take these options into account.

Where Community Living Fails.

The concept of community living is great. Disabled people being given the right to live within the general community and to have the same right to work and live as everyone else. It is an ideal paradise.

But wait there is a problem. Community Living groups miss one minor little detail. What happens to those who can not manage this? What happens when some one has perhaps the mental age of 6 with no one in their family to care for them? What happens when that person is a full grown adult? Where do they go?

The answer to most of these questions now is JAIL. There are no facilities left that have the tools to deal with those who have absolutely no ability to care for themselves and have no one to do it for them. There are no facilities for those who through mental illness are so violent that their own family can not care for them anymore because they do not have the tools.

The problem is Canada Wide Community living associations have closed “institutions” which, there is no question, were not operated properly and were a problem. However in the process of removing the problems they forgot that there actually was a need for these facilities and, of those who lived in them, many now live homeless on the streets, are in Jail or are dead.

The problem is that Politics in Canada both at provincial levels and at the federal level is a game of black and white. No politician presently serving actually looks at the big picture when dealing with these types of programs and says “We have a problem and we are going to fix it” instead we hear “This is a nightmare these people are being abused and we will shut them all down” and 6 months later when they are asked how will we deal with these people who actually have no care, no where to go and are basically homeless and their reply is “They were being abused, what do you want? Us to put them back in there? This is the only solution.” And because the abuse was the big ticket media item, and the fact that they are now homeless, uncared for and a danger to not only themselves but also sometimes to others, is not so huge a media story, the politicians can ignore it “because the other way was wrong”

The truth is that it is a far “sexier” to completely close down a problem facility or industry then it is to clean up the mess. Cleaning up the mess takes years and politicians do not have years to make their mark, so in the black and white world of politics the solution to institutions became simply close them all or leave them as they are, because to them fixing the institutions and the problems that existed within them was not a viable solution, because there was no media attention to a fix that takes years, while there was hugely positive media attention to throwing people who had no means of caring for themselves onto the street to fend for themselves amongst the dealers, the pimps and the prostitutes. And this is what community living associations have brought us because they did not, and still do not see the damage that was done by wholesale closing facilities that cared for those who society itself could not care for.

These institutions had problems, They were to large, and abuse was rampant but these problems could have, and should have, been fixed. And yes those who could have lived a fairly normal life with some support should have been given that opportunity, but a full out closure has left no where but jail for those who have no ability or means to care for themselves.

Where Community Living Fails.

The concept of community living is great. Disabled people being given the right to live within the general community and to have the same right to work and live as everyone else. It is an ideal paradise.

But wait there is a problem. Community Living groups miss one minor little detail. What happens to those who can not manage this? What happens when some one has perhaps the mental age of 6 with no one in their family to care for them? What happens when that person is a full grown adult? Where do they go?

The answer to most of these questions now is JAIL. There are no facilities left that have the tools to deal with those who have absolutely no ability to care for themselves and have no one to do it for them. There are no facilities for those who through mental illness are so violent that their own family can not care for them anymore because they do not have the tools.

The problem is Canada Wide Community living associations have closed “institutions” which, there is no question, were not operated properly and were a problem. However in the process of removing the problems they forgot that there actually was a need for these facilities and, of those who lived in them, many now live homeless on the streets, are in Jail or are dead.

The problem is that Politics in Canada both at provincial levels and at the federal level is a game of black and white. No politician presently serving actually looks at the big picture when dealing with these types of programs and says “We have a problem and we are going to fix it” instead we hear “This is a nightmare these people are being abused and we will shut them all down” and 6 months later when they are asked how will we deal with these people who actually have no care, no where to go and are basically homeless and their reply is “They were being abused, what do you want? Us to put them back in there? This is the only solution.” And because the abuse was the big ticket media item, and the fact that they are now homeless, uncared for and a danger to not only themselves but also sometimes to others, is not so huge a media story, the politicians can ignore it “because the other way was wrong”

The truth is that it is a far “sexier” to completely close down a problem facility or industry then it is to clean up the mess. Cleaning up the mess takes years and politicians do not have years to make their mark, so in the black and white world of politics the solution to institutions became simply close them all or leave them as they are, because to them fixing the institutions and the problems that existed within them was not a viable solution, because there was no media attention to a fix that takes years, while there was hugely positive media attention to throwing people who had no means of caring for themselves onto the street to fend for themselves amongst the dealers, the pimps and the prostitutes. And this is what community living associations have brought us because they did not, and still do not see the damage that was done by wholesale closing facilities that cared for those who society itself could not care for.

These institutions had problems, They were to large, and abuse was rampant but these problems could have, and should have, been fixed. And yes those who could have lived a fairly normal life with some support should have been given that opportunity, but a full out closure has left no where but jail for those who have no ability or means to care for themselves.