LEAN experiment proving the wrong way to overhaul healthcare

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Editor:

A recent survey shows doctors, nurses and health professionals are not happy with the way things are going, years into the government’s controversial Lean experiment to overhaul health care.

Only 19 per cent of doctors feel they now have the tools and resources to be effective and productive. That’s according to a memo from Saskatoon Health Region’s leadership, which outlines the region’s preliminary results from a province-wide survey.

The preliminary results show things are getting worse instead of better seven years into the Lean experiment in health care.

What I’m hearing often from health professionals is that the government’s Lean-driven system is all about consultants and management techniques, turning entirely away from the basics in patient care. We see in these survey results how epidemic that has become – so much so that doctors and nurses feel they can’t be effective in their jobs.

Health outcomes like adverse events, patient pain management and death after serious surgery are also getting worse, according to the government’s own statistics. The government’s obsession with the Lean program has become a dangerous distraction as well as a waste of time and money.

With doctors reporting they’re unhappy, lacking the tools they need to be effective and concerned about their own personal health and well-being at work, the government is creating even more acute physician recruitment and retention challenges.

Serious concerns have been raised by the NDP, doctors, nurses and the public, but the government stubbornly said it's only willing to consider a small change to the term of the $40 million contract with the American Lean consulting firm John Black and Associates. Wasting slightly less money isn't a good enough response as far as Saskatchewan taxpayers and health care workers are concerned. .

The government is still ploughing ahead with Lean and sticking with their approach of dismissing the concerns of workers and patients.

Danielle Chartier - NDP Health Critic

Organizations: NDP

Geographic location: Saskatchewan

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