The public service provides the stability and due diligence required in order for a society to benefit from government-legislated or approved services. Maintenance of roadways, water and sewage systems, providing emergency measures services, policing and ever so much more. Government legislates, the public service executes and regulates. That system has served our civilization well for centuries.
New Brunswick has been blessed, over many years, with superb public servants, many of whom are called back into service long after retirement by other agencies and governments, the private sector, and more. Brilliant would be a label attached to some of the leading civil servants with whom I have worked. Loyal and dedicated would also apply to many.
Every service regulated and overseen by the public service, however, needs to be changed regularly in order to prevent stagnation and to ensure that public funds are used wisely based on current knowledge and best practice. Such it has been for generations with such things as ferry services, property assessment systems, public education, natural resources, the fishery to name just a few. Failure to adapt would mean, for instance, fish stocks could be depleted prematurely or lumber becomes scarce or rivers become unduly polluted.
For years, the public has been expressing its disapproval of horrific long waits in Emergency Departments along with frustration and anger when their doctor retires or leaves the practice only to be left with either the Emergency Department or an After-Hours Clinic as their source of primary health care services. In recent years, the media has carried a seemingly endless stream of articles and commentaries on topics ranging from hospital staff absenteeism to violence in the workplace toxicity. We have heard the cries from gifted specialists in various surgical disciplines who claim to have access to no more than one day per week in the Operating Room for elective and urgent surgical cases.
The stories are endless and the public has been growing increasingly restless. The professionals, on whose work the reputation of our health care services depends, are getting increasingly restless. The Minister of Health has recently spoken about the Department of Health taking over the recruitment of doctors yet it is difficult to envision recruitment and retention success until some major shortcomings of the system are cleaned up.
Ken McGeorge, BS,DHA,CHE is a career health care executive based in Fredericton, NB, Canada.