Monday, October 23, 2006

Hospital's Too Per Sent

It’s been a few weeks now that I have been trying to get back to my blog. As a matter of fact, it has been on my mind almost constantly. The problem was, and still is, that I have lots to bitch about, but not so many things to find positive.

My wife is living through some managerial nightmares quite akin to my own of a few years ago. I have not sorted out how to handle the mid-management pressure exerted by the enterprise-monster that inevitably rears it’s ugly head when budgets are badly overrun and bean-counters make the decisions.

So it goes that she has to cut 2% of her budget, but the budget is not available to her, this rests with some other department, and they ain’t sharing!

I find it significant that during vacation time, as there often is during our summer, essential services to her residents are not even fulfilled! Again I mention this as I did in a previous blog: if there is a strike, the law obligates more staff on-hand than is even available during summer vacation.

And they expect her to cut budget by 2%? Indeed.

Well, maybe the old and diminished folks can rot in their own filth for lack of 2% of service. Either they eat or they shit, but apparently, there won’t be enough staff for them to do both.

And I have trouble finding a positive aspect of this.

Then there is the black hole of the badly managed hospital system in this region. The health budgets were overrun only by the hospitals. All the other health organizations ran on balanced budget expenditures (local services community centres, the nut houses and the homes.)

So now that all services are combined under a single auspice, the hospital deficit is spread over the other services. Leading up to the above stated 2% cock up. Yeah, like that’s real fair.

And I have trouble finding the positive aspects of this.

Low and behold the story doesn’t stop there. A few years ago the hospitals started closing down offices in various government buildings in order to save on lease costs, etc. This was a brilliant move towards occupying unused rooms in the hospitals themselves. Many rooms, in fact entire wings, were converted to office space.

This seems odd to those of us that have ever visited an emergency room in the Outaouais region, as the emergency hallways are often overrun with patients. The grim reality is that the hospitals don’t have enough nursing staff to operate more beds, thereby closing down the afore-mentioned wings in favour of office space.

You see where I’m going with this?  The patients that should be in hospital rooms, which are now closed due to lack of staff, and occupying offices, are now being sent to the other services.  So now, the homes, asylums and service centres are being told to commandeer utility closets and such to house patients on a temporary basis. This with the looming 2% cuts across the board, obviously.

And I have trouble finding any positive aspects to this.

As for the epitome of the right & left hand scenario the government, which allegedly controls it all, issues max-number of  residents permits to the homes and asylums and service centres: my wife’s establishment is permitted to have 75 residents. Period. If they have more, they face severe fines. Their own ministry of health, no less, is telling them to accommodate an extra patient in a utility room for a one-over the permit. Never mind the staff implications.

Some centres are being told to go 2 and 3 over their permits. This is all temporary of course. All temporary.

When I served time at Nortel, all things temporary became permanent in more or less short order. So it goes today from the friends I have who are still interned there. My wife’s own experience is similar if not identical to my own. And so I dare anyone to contradict that this will become a permanent arrangement.

Utility closets indeed.

Does anyone else have trouble finding the positive aspects here?

And this is a tiny bit of bitching that happened just last night!