Brunswick News publications carried a lead article on Saturday, August 8, 2020 posing the question: Are We Beginning to Tune Out of Covid-19? The previous day, the Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Russell, posed a similar question in commenting on the latest large gathering of people in celebration at a boating event.
From the beginning, back in late 2019, the risk, scope, etiology, contagion, control, treatment and much else surrounding this virus has been the subject of so much more controversy on the international stage than any other in history. The public can be forgiven for feeling more than a little antsy a full 9 months in!
With previous outbreaks, particularly the worst ones in recent memory (e.g., SARS, H1N1), there was a huge spike, much publicity, much discomfort, and so little controversy because the science seemed less vague. Since the 1970’s we, as citizens, have become accustomed to the promotion of the annual “flu vaccine” which has been helpful but never forced on people. Indeed, the vaccines apparently get adjusted regularly and we typically are at the mercy of the pharmacist or doctor to ensure we are getting the latest vaccine.
So, we are going to the polls! Last week had drama leading to the fact that the parties will not agree to the plan placed before them by the Premier. There are two vacant seats and, according to reports, at least three that want to be vacant!
Those who are seriously interested in seeing the health system get fixed should now start to memorize some lines so that when candidates contact you, you can respond with good questions that will force some response. In just how many elections have you heard the same promises? No more cuts! We will keep your emergency departments intact! No, we will not close rural hospitals. Yes, we will hire more doctors and nurses. We will add more nursing home beds; why we will even put some in your riding.
One of the greatest that comes up in every campaign is: We will place new resources into Health Promotion and Disease Prevention. And sometimes that happens, yet the basic issues of the health system remain.
My book by this title commences with this question on the inside front cover because I wanted readers to understand that making our health system work for New Brunswickers is not about simple improvement but about transformational change.
Being a writer was never in my career path at any time until the opportunity afforded me nearly two years ago by Brunswick News. They asked for a series of commentaries on Health Care Reform and I was only too happy to oblige. It was, in fact, a labor of love for me because I, like thousands of others in the health and long-term care system, have seen so many events happening, policies announced, projects approved for which there seemed often to be a gap in logic! Many days I, and many others, would end the day with many questions about the wisdom of decisions and strategies.
Ken McGeorge, BS,DHA,CHE is a career health care executive based in Fredericton, NB, Canada.