Health Sciences North decreases Hospital ER Wait Times in Sudbury that were as High as 19 Hours

Posted by PITHOCRATES - January 12th, 2013

Week in Review

The American Left loves the Canadian health care system.  That’s what they wanted when they settled for Obamacare.  They wanted a single-payer system.  Like in Canada.  So they could enjoy real health care nirvana (see ‘Kick in the ass’ helps ER wait times, administrator says posted 1/9/2013 on CBC News).

The hospital in Sudbury says emergency room waits are down thanks to a recent review of its services.

For the past two months, Health Sciences North hasn’t seen the bed shortages that have clogged up the hospital in recent years.

Chief Operating Officer Joe Pilon credited a recent peer review ordered last year by the province, which he said finally prompted hospital staff to put into practice its strategies for dealing with elderly patients.

Sudbury is in northern Ontario, just north of Georgian Bay/Lake Huron on the Trans Canada Highway and the Canadian Pacific Railroad.  An old mining boom town that turned into the largest city in northern Ontario with a population of about 160,000.

Clogged up hospital emergency rooms in recent years?  Years?  And the solution to speeding things up in the ER was dealing with elderly patients?  One wonders how they sped things up by dealing with those elderly patients.  We know how the UK is dealing with their elderly.  With the Liverpool Care Pathway.  Or what some are calling a death panel.  A dignified war for the elderly to die.  Quickly.  And efficiently.  While freeing up some hospital beds in the process.

The article doesn’t elaborate on what steps they took to address the elderly problem.  But a comment left by a reader gives you an idea about how bad those wait times were.

Just last summer, my wife and I left Sudbury ER to go to Espanola ER after waiting in pain for 8 or more hours. We watched as patients with apparently less serious issues go through triage and then trreatment [sic]while more apparently serious cases waited. Was this tactic a clever move just to empty some seats?

I love Sudbury. But it can be a nightmare if you need medical attention at this hospital.

Still, 8 hours isn’t that bad.  A previous CBC news article in May of 2012 noted the average wait time exceeded 19 hours.  The reason behind those long wait times?  Too many people using the emergency room who shouldn’t be using the emergency room.  Like a lot of sick elderly people who have no place else to go.

Interestingly, the U.S. moved Obamacare forward based on the assumption that universal care will somehow prevent our emergency rooms from overflowing with people who have no health insurance.  Something not apparently working in Sudbury, Ontario.

In the U.S. I gave up on a crowded ER waiting room after waiting for close to 3 hours and drove to another emergency room.  Or, rather, had someone drive me to another emergency room.  For I was in too much pain to drive myself.  But it wasn’t as much pain as those heart attack patients jumping to the front of the line ahead of me apparently.  That’s the thing about triage.  Unless you’re dying or bleeding profusely from some open wound you will sit and wait.  And wait.  And wait.

My experience was long before Obamacare.  Now the American health care system will approach to what they have in Canada.  So what will be the difference once Obamacare becomes similar to the Canadian system?  About 5-16 hours of ER waiting time.  Unless they speed things up by not treating the elderly.  Instead just enrolling them directly into the Liverpool Care Pathway equivalent.  To free up hospital beds.  And emergency room resources.  For a death panel will be the only way to reduce costs and treat more people at the same time.  By not treating those who consume the lion’s share of our health care resources.  The elderly.


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The NHS to implement a Patient Satisfaction Survey to reverse a Trend of Falling Quality Levels

Posted by PITHOCRATES - January 6th, 2013

Week in Review

Obamacare is just a stepping stone to national health care.  For the American people don’t want national health care.  Unlike the American Left.  So they plan to implement national health care with baby steps.  With Obamacare being step one.  And when they arrive at full blown national health care here is something we can expect (see GPs should be subject to patient satisfaction tests, says David Cameron by Patrick Wintour posted 1/3/2013 on the guardian).

GPs should be subject to regular patient and staff satisfaction tests in the same way as has already been proposed for hospitals, David Cameron has announced.

A “friends and family” test, in which patients and staff are asked whether they would recommend a service, is being introduced into every hospital in England from April, and the prime minister says the principle should be extended to GPs’ surgeries, district nursing and community hospitals.

Cameron and the health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, have identified standards of compassionate care provided by nurses and other staff as a safe issue on which the government can campaign after the political disaster of its health reforms last year. The move follows examples of appalling treatment of patients by some staff in high-profile cases, especially involving elderly patients.

Hunt is also leading a drive to improve the treatment of dementia, which is taking up increasing NHS resources…

Cameron said: “We still have a long way to go to raise standards across the NHS and get rid of those cases of poor and completely unacceptable care that blight some hospitals and homes.

Dementia rates are exploding both in the UK and in the US.  Why?  Because we’re living longer.  For dementia was more rare when we died in our sixties.  Now that we’re living well into our eighties and beyond we’re living long enough to come down with a whole slew of expensive diseases.

Not only are we living longer but we’re having fewer babies than we once did.  The British are having far fewer babies than when they originally set up the NHS.  Which is why they’re having so many financial problems these days.  A declining birth rate means a declining tax base.  Meaning less tax revenue.  To pay for all those baby boomers living longer into retirement and coming down with all of those expensive diseases.  Fewer people entering the workforce paying taxes and more people leaving the workforce who stop paying taxes while consuming all those health care resources.  That is, an aging population.  Which means longer wait times and service rationing.  And appalling treatment of a growing number of patients.  Just like in the NHS.  As we will see for ourselves in Obamacare.  Or whatever Obamacare evolves into.


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Rising Costs and Falling Revenue forces NHS to cut Hearing Services, Hip & Knee Operations and Eye Surgeries

Posted by PITHOCRATES - October 27th, 2012

Week in Review

The costs of an aging population (due to fewer people having babies these days than in our parent’s generation) are causing great cost pressures on Britain’s National Health Service.  The number of elderly patients is rising.  And they’re consuming more health care resources.  While the tax base is shrinking.  With fewer people paying taxes overall tax revenue falls.  You don’t have to be highly skilled in math to see the problem here.  They’re spending money faster than they can get it.  And when you have a problem like that your options are few.  You cut costs.  Increase wait times.  And ration services (see NHS hearing services ‘being cut’ by Nick Triggle posted 10/22/2012 on BBC News Health).

NHS hearing services are being scaled back in England, an investigation by campaigners suggests.

Data obtained by Action on Hearing Loss from 128 hospitals found more than 40% had seen cuts in the past 18 months.

In particular, the study found evidence of rises in waiting times and reductions in follow-up care.

The report is the latest in a growing number to have suggested front-line care is being rationed as the health service struggles with finances.

The NHS is in the middle of a £20bn five-year savings drive.

The government believes the savings can be made by increasing productivity.

But in the past year reports have suggested everything from hip and knee operations to eye surgery is being cut.

As American health care transitions into full scale Obamacare these are terms we’ll start to hear.  Cost cuts.  Wait times.  And rationing.  You know, before they cut our hearing services.  Then these things will happen.  We just won’t hear about them.

Incidentally, the NHS is trying to cut about $32.2 billion from their approximate $162 billion budget.  That’s a 20% cut.  According to Kaiser, the US spent about $2.3 trillion on health in 2010.  A similar 20% cut in our health care spending would total approximately $450 billion over five years.  Or about $900 billion over 10 years.  Which is close to what the first CBO score came in for Obamacare.  When they were counting revenue for some years but no costs.  So basically to do what the British are doing would require the repealing of Obamacare.  That’s how big these numbers are.  And why we should repeal Obamacare.  Before our excellent health care system suffers these cost cuts, wait times and rationing.


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The NHS may be letting Elderly Patients Die to Help Cut Costs

Posted by PITHOCRATES - October 21st, 2012

Week in Review

There are few things more difficult than watching a loved one die a slow death.  Nothing prepares you for this.  Even if you work in the health care industry (see My diary of mum’s awful death on the Liverpool Care Pathway: Nurse’s heart-rending account of how doctors decided  to put her mother on ‘pathway to death’ by Tom Rawstorne posted 10/19/2012 on the Daily Mail).

As a nurse and health visitor with 25 years’ experience, Carole Jones thought she knew the workings of the NHS inside out.

But when her 85-year-old mother Maureen was admitted to Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge last year having suffered a stroke, she was totally unprepared for what followed.

Her mother’s chances of recovery having been written off by medics, a decision was taken — without Carole’s knowledge — to place Maureen on the controversial Liverpool Care Pathway (LCP).

This is a plan ostensibly designed to ease the suffering of the dying, which can involve the heavy sedation of a patient and the removal of tubes providing food and fluid.

Over the past week, families have contacted the Daily Mail saying they believe their loved ones were wrongly put on the LCP by hospitals when they were not in fact close to death, fuelling the suspicion that it is used to hasten deaths to save the NHS money and free up beds.

In June this year, Professor Patrick Pullicino, a consultant neurologist for East Kent Hospitals, and Professor of Clinical Neurosciences at Kent University, told a conference the LCP had become an ‘assisted death pathway’.

‘Very likely, many elderly patients who could live substantially longer are being killed by the LCP,’ he said.

It is so difficult when the roles reverse between parent and child.  When a parent consults with a doctor about his or her child you usually don’t have to worry whether the doctor is doing what’s best for the child.  When it is a daughter or son of a parent discussing an elderly parent’s treatment with a doctor it’s a different story.  Especially if that parent is suffering from dementia.  And the National Health Service is dealing with cost pressures from an aging population.

More people are leaving the workforce than entering it in the UK (as well as the US).  Which means two things.  Tax revenue is falling because of fewer workers (which means fewer taxpayers).  While at the same time a larger number of retirees are consuming a large share of health care services.  So that’s less money coming into the health service.  While the health service is spending more money on providing health care services.  Which is a problem.  If you spend more than you receive you will run deficits.  And if you can’t increase tax rates anymore that leaves only one other option.  Cost cutting.

Is this the reason why they are placing elderly patients in the controversial Liverpool Care Pathway (LCP)?  To help cut costs by having them die more efficiently?  Whether they are or not it would help cut costs.  Probably the largest cost savings they can make.  By removing the largest consumers of health care resources from the health care system.  A death panel, if you will.  Where some government bureaucrat makes a cold and calculated decision to let a person die because it’s the cost efficient thing to do.

It’s something to think about as they fully implement Obamacare.  For if the NHS is doing this it would follow that Obamacare will, too.  For both nations have aging populations.  Only the US has about five times the population of the UK so the US will probably have five times the cost pressures.  And will likely place five times the patients into the US equivalency of the Liverpool Care Pathway (LCP).

This is the bleak future of Obamacare.  Real death panels.  Despite what the proponents of Obamacare say.


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Short of Beds in the NHS they discharge Patients (Including the Elderly) in the Middle of the Night

Posted by PITHOCRATES - April 21st, 2012

Week in Review

 Most of us no doubt have stayed in a motel or hotel where there was an early morning knock on the door.  Followed by an opening of your door by housekeeping eager to make up your room.  Which can be rather surprising.  Annoying.  And even frightening.  Especially if you’re undressed and about to turn on the shower.  Or otherwise occupied in the bathroom.  But you understand.  Because we’ve also been at the check-in desk before our check-in time.  Waiting.  Because we can’t go to our room yet.  Because housekeeping hasn’t made up our room yet from its last guest.  So on the one hand you don’t want to be disturbed early morning by housekeeping.  But on the other you want housekeeping to rouse late risers to get them out of your room so you don’t have to wait.  Apparently it’s the same way in the National Health Service (NHS) in England (see NHS’s Sir Bruce Keogh warns over overnight discharging posted 4/17/2012 on the BBC News Health).

Hospitals in England have been told to end the practice of discharging patients in the middle of the night in order to free up beds.

The NHS medical director has written to Strategic Health Authorities saying it is unacceptable to send people home when they may have no family support…

They suggest 100 NHS trusts sent 239,233 patients home between 23:00 and 06:00 in 2011…

“While some patients may of course choose to be discharged during these hours, the examples highlighted of elderly patients being left to make their way home by themselves in the middle of the night are obviously unacceptable, and need to be addressed urgently,” Sir Bruce wrote.

That’s pretty cold.  Even in the worst motel/hotel you’ve ever stayed at they don’t kick you out in the middle of the night to make up your room.  I guess that’s because the motel/hotel business has greater resources than the NHS.  And can wait to make up your rooms after the sun rises.

This is yet another example of rationing in national health care.  Which is what we can expect with Obamacare.  They are so short of beds that they are kicking people out in the middle of the night to open a bed for another patient.  Why?  Because they are so overcrowded that they just don’t have enough beds for their patients.  So out they go.  In the middle of the night.  Some of them senior citizens.  Left to fend for themselves in finding a way home. 

But it’s better this way.  Because in national health care they put people before profits.  Unlike in private health care.  Where they put profits first.  And, because they do, they don’t have to kick out patients in the wee hours of the morning.  They can wait until after the sun rises.  Because they have more resources for their patients in private health care.  Such as they have in the U.S.  That is, until Obamacare kicks in.  Which will add more patients into the health care system.  Far more than the NHS has.  And they will, therefore, have to ration more than the NHS does.  So they can stretch those resources to cover everyone.  Where some will have to go without.  To make resources available for others.  And you can guess who those people going without will be.  The same people who have the greatest trouble finding their way home in England after getting discharged in the middle of the night.  The elderly.

Welcome to Obamacare.


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Too Sick or too Old? Sorry, no Health Care for You in the NHS or in Obamacare

Posted by PITHOCRATES - April 8th, 2012

Week in Review

Critics of Obamacare warned that this national health care system would contain death panels.  Too sick or too old?  Sorry, no health care for you.  That’s ridiculous said the supporters of Obamacare.  There was no mention of ‘death panels’ anywhere in the bill.  And there’s probably no mention of death panels in Britain’s National Health Service (NHS).  But elderly patients are left to die all of the time.  Precisely because they are too old (see Sentenced to death for being old: The NHS denies life-saving treatment to the elderly, as one man’s chilling story reveals by John Naish posted 4/6/2012 on the Daily Mail).

When Kenneth Warden was diagnosed with terminal bladder cancer, his hospital consultant sent him home to die, ruling that at 78 he was too old to treat.

Even the palliative surgery or chemotherapy that could have eased his distressing symptoms were declared off-limits because of his age.

His distraught daughter Michele Halligan accepted the sad prognosis but was determined her father would spend his last months in comfort. So she paid for him to seen privately by a second doctor to discover what could be done to ease his symptoms.

Thanks to her tenacity, Kenneth got the drugs and surgery he needed — and as a result his cancer was actually cured. Four years on, he is a sprightly 82-year-old who works out at the gym, drives a sports car and competes in a rowing team…

Sadly, Kenneth’s story is symptomatic of a dreadful truth. According to shocking new research by Macmillan Cancer Support, every year many thousands of older people are routinely denied life-saving NHS treatments because their doctors write them off as too old to treat…

This kind of ‘professional opinion’ appears to be costing more than 14,000 lives each year, thanks to routine discrimination by doctors who assume older patients are too frail for surgery, chemotherapy or radiotherapy. 

This is according to experts at Macmillan Cancer Support, who warned last week that every day up to 40 elderly cancer sufferers are dying needlessly because they are being denied the best treatments. This is particularly true, it says, for patients over the age of 70.

The charity estimates that if the treatment of older patients matched that on offer in the U.S., as many as 14,000 lives could be saved every year…

Last week, the respected health research charity, the King’s Fund, warned that prejudice about older people means they often go without treatment for conditions such as depression, and are not even tested for illnesses such as heart disease.

This is despite huge advances in medical care which mean that patients can now successfully undergo major surgery at ages where they would not previously be expected to survive.

In America, doctors pioneering the field of ‘geriatric surgery’ regularly perform open-heart surgery on people in their 90s…

Last year, research by the National Cancer Intelligence Network found evidence of widespread age-based discrimination in the NHS on women with breast cancer.

Its study of 23,000 sufferers found that 90 per cent of those aged 30 to 50 are offered surgery to remove tumours, compared to 82 per cent of those aged 60 to 70, and 70 per cent of those in their 70s…

So if you’re elderly and you live in America you better get your health care fast.  Before Obamacare kicks in.  And decides you’re too old to treat.  For if they’re doing it in the NHS they’ll be doing it in Obamacare.  Not because they are mean and hate old people.  But simply because of the economics.  Doctors will advise families that there is no money to spend on their loved ones.  But don’t be upset.  It’s nothing personal.  It’s just business.

It is ironic that the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) supported Obamacare as they are supposed to represent the elderly that pay their membership fees.  Why you ask would they do something like this?  Well, they sell insurance policies to seniors that pay for what Medicare doesn’t cover.  Medigap policies.  And to get AARP onboard with Obamacare the new health care law exempts AARP from pricing formulas restricting the amount of their premiums spent on non-health services.  Allowing them to charge higher premiums than Obamacare allows other insurers to charge.  At least according to The Daily Caller.  So when Obamacare denies seniors life-saving treatments AARP can tell their families not to be upset.  It’s nothing personal.  It’s just business.

Advocates of national health care like to point to the NHS and say that is the model to follow.  And we are now moving in that direction with Obamacare.  Which can mean only one thing.  Death panels will follow.  Even though they are not specifically mentioned in the bill.  Because when it comes down to it health care is a game of numbers.  Accounting decisions.  Especially when the government runs it.  And the only way to control costs is by rationing services.  And what better way to ration services than by simply withholding them from the greatest consumers of those services?  The elderly.  Don’t think it will happen?  Just look at the NHS.  That is our future.  Where health care isn’t about doing what’s right for the patient.  But controlling costs.  But it’s nothing personal.  It’s just business.


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