At this point, we are all experiencing Pandemic Fatigue, tired of hearing it as the main news item as if nothing else is happening except the US election! Tired of being locked down! Tired of following arrows and being so anxious in the grocery store! Tired of not being able to see family without someone making you feel guilty. Is the upper limit 5 or 10 or 20 this week? The prospect of Christmas being so very different from the way it has been forever is depressing to many!
As some have suggested, much that once was wholesome and fun in normal living has been stolen. One hopes the departure is temporary, but some may suspect otherwise.
We have had many serious outbreaks in our history and several just within the last two decades, namely SARS, H1N1, Ebola, Influenza, Measles, Cholera and more. Each has been serious and each has been deadly. Remember just two years ago in New Brunswick we were a bit panic-stricken with the detection of a few Measles cases that somehow got into the schools.
In the view of many, the Auditor General’s Report was revealing, welcome, and finally placed some issues in public view. All those news stories about long waits and ambulance no-shows seem to have firm foundation.
For decades the local ambulance service across the province was a mix of hospital-operated vehicles, Saint John Ambulance services, and systems in rural communities of volunteer-based services and services run by local businessmen or funeral directors! With this hybrid, there was a variety of levels of service from highly professional and efficient to fairly rough. There were some concerns with standards of service brought to government’s attention that in the mid-1990’s staff in the department of health commenced working on a plan that would provide standardization across the province.
In those days, local ambulance services operated on one-year contracts and could easily have been cancelled if performance was a problem. One seasoned operator, who served on a government advisory committee, observed that there were regulations in place but no regulatory capacity; nothing happened to those operators whose standards were problematic.
Ken McGeorge, BS,DHA,CHE is a career health care executive based in Fredericton, NB, Canada.