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Admit there’s a crisis - Citizens protest over health care at former minister Glavine’s office


KINGSTON, N.S. —

Protesters in front of former Health Minister Leo Glavine’s office in Kingston May 7 asked the West Kings Liberal MLA to step up to the premier and convince him health care in Nova Scotia is in crisis – and then seek immediate solutions to take the pressure off front-line workers.

Protest organizer Leslie Tilley wants Liberal MLAs to convince Stephen McNeil and current Health Minister Randy Delorey to not only admit to a crisis, but to a state of emergency.

“And to sit down at the table and plan some immediate solutions to get the pressure off the frontline staff,” said Tilley. “They’re burning out.”

She described frontline health care like working in a war zone.

“We’ve heard all over the news the pleas for Code Orange, ERs closing, EMTs cannot unload patients,” said Tilley. “It’s just absolutely horrific what is happening here in Nova Scotia."

But along with a short-term fix to ease the burden of frontline staff, Tilley is calling for long-term solutions as well.

About 20 people carried placards in front of Glavine’s constituency office starting at 10:30 a.m. Signs carried the messages: “‘Honk’ for Health Care!,” “People are Dying: Code Critical!!,” “Not a Health Crisis??? Wake up and Smell the Coffee!!!,” “No Crisis? Bulls**t!! Fix This Mess,” “Now You’ve Done It! You’ve Pissed Off Great Grandma!,” “Not a Health Crisis!! State of Emergency,” “Stand Up or Step Down,” “We Need Doctors Now,” “Health Care is a Human Right!! Code Critical.”

TIME TO PROTEST

Tilley started a Facebook Group called ‘Nova Scotia Health Care in Crisis Time to Protest’ just over a month ago and has rallied Nova Scotians to protest at Delorey’s office May 3 and she met with Kings South MLA Keith Irving May 6. The group has more than 2,000 members who are telling their stories – and offering up ideas to fix things.

“I have 124 comments on what kind of solutions there could be to help fix this health care crisis,” she said, noting that one suggestion is to get nurse practitioner into the drug stores.

“There’s no overhead,” she said. “They’d just be paying the nurse and they can write prescriptions for colds, re-occurring prescriptions that people need. It will take some of the pressure off the ER. The ER is there for emergencies. It’s not there for prescriptions.”

In her conversation with Irving, she and group member Joan Hawkin said the bottom line is the need for immediate help.

Tilley said 18,000 will lose doctors in 30-minute radius of Kingston by June and Nova Scotia needs 100 new doctors a year.

Glavine came out to talk with protesters shortly after they arrived. He spoke to people individually and in groups, and listened to their stories.

EMERGENCY

“It’s an emergency here. We don’t have control over when these (new) doctors come in or where they decide to set up practice. Hopefully they can see where they can make the biggest difference. That’s what we can hope,” Tilley said in reference to the urban/rural distribution of doctors.

“Right at the moment we can all say that Nova Scotia is so beautiful, and it’s such a beautiful place to live. However, who would want to come to Nova Scotia right now if they can’t see a doctor? No one. Including doctors,” she said.

“We have to give huge incentives for them to come here. They are the lowest paid in all of the provinces. They need to step up the wage. Make it competitive. Make it so they don’t have to work 70 hours a week. No doctor should have to.”

“I’m 65 years old. I’m a senior,” said Hawkin at the Kingston protest. “We need more long-term beds, we need more nursing homes. We need primary care. We’ve got to start with primary care and from there we can branch out to mental health, to addictions. But we need doctors, we need CCAs, RNs, nurses, on the floor. People are dying.”

She said in a Facebook post she doesn’t want to be warehoused, strapped in a geriatric chair, chemically sedated on an extended care hospital wing for more than two years, waiting for a bed in a proper nursing home.

“And I would like to have enough staff to properly care for me and others,” she said.

CRISIS

Joanne Mattinson of Clementsport is 71 and a great-grandmother.

“We hope the government realizes there’s a crisis in the health care system,” she said, adding that her concern right now is for frontline workers. “That includes everyone – doctors, nurses, everybody that works in the health care system is affected emotionally, mentally, and physically. And it’s time the government stuck up for all these people trying to take care of us. And put up some more homes for the seniors so they don’t have to occupy space in the hospitals where they don’t want to be anyway.”

Tilley said she’s planning to protest at McNeil’s Halifax office later in May and is planning a town hall meeting in Aylesford June 5 with several people already involved, including community leader Chris Palmer and Kings North MLA John Lohr. She hopes to include doctors and pharmacists at the meeting, and expects to hear testimonies from people struggling in the health care system. All the while a powerpoint presentation will be playing in the background.

SOLUTIONS

Following are suggestions from members of the Facebook Group ‘Nova Scotia Health Care in Crisis Time to Protest:’

-- Nurse practitioners in emergency departments.
-- More incentive for our doctors and nurses.
-- Allow pharmacies to test for simple things like strep -- there are kits out there to swab right in an office, why not a pharmacist?
-- More nursing homes.
-- Have community hospitals open for long-term care for people who can’t get into a nursing home.
-- Long term: Open another med school (business opportunity here). Short term: Allow doctors to charge patients a booking fee of $10 (in addition to amount they bill MSI). This would add in excess of $50,000 to each family practitioner’s income and drastically reduce no-shows.
-- Make funds available for people to tend their parents and relatives at home. Way cheaper than keeping them in hospitals.
-- Audit at least semi-annually by board members where hospital funding is going and analyses if it is being used wisely.
-- More education/help to encourage people to live a healthy lifestyle.
-- The smaller hospitals should be set up for seniors and the labs kept open with walk in clinics.
-- Move seniors out of the larger hospitals, open up more beds.
-- Pay nurses overtime.
-- Less paper work, easier forms to hiring doctors.
-- Help pay for paramedics education.
-- Have tests like EKG, blood work , x-rays, scans ordered by RN.
-- Streamline the accreditation and approval process for foreign doctors and medical professionals.
-- Employers should not force people to go to out patience for a doctor’s note.
-- Open walk-in clinics in each area to deal with those just needing minor treatments. Use the doctors who are not through all the "red tape" yet. Supervised by a doctor who is. Use the resources we have to their fullest potential -- nurses know if an x-ray is needed, can order blood work, do stitches...

GoOnline: https://www.facebook.com/groups/635626496875106/

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