It is hard to imagine the level of inefficiency that must exist in the operation of hospitals and healthcare facilities in Newfoundland and Labrador if Eastern Health can cut $43 million, eliminating the equivalent of about 550 jobs and not impact patient care.
I for one am 100% supportive of measures that maximize the efficiency of public tax dollars. Public sector organizations have an obligation to maximize financial and human resources. The fact that Tim Hortons has to pay employees over $20 an hour to operate a franchise in the Health Sciences Complex speaks volumes about the honeymoon public sector unions have been on when compared to private sector employees in similar jobs. Imagine, a Tim Hortons that is busier than a termite in a saw mill, loosing $260,000 last year. It baffles the imagination.
Many people are shooting the messenger. They seem to skip right over the message, that despite significant investments in health care the cost of providing services has spun out of control. The reality, as President and CEO Vickie Kaminski aptly stated is "We do not have a bottomless trough of money available to us,"
As our population ages, the explosion in weight and eating related diseases continues to increase and the cost of professional services increases it will be even more important to maximize the value of every scarce dollar provided to health care to treat people.
Kaminski says the cost savings plan was the result of an on-going operational review and had nothing to do with the provincial governments current economic retrenchment plan. She has a tough job on her hands to balance expectations of the union employees and the public while living up to a public commitment that this exercise will not impact front-line services.
Failure is not an option, the future of our incredible medical programs depends on managing health expenditures in a way that is sustainable. The alternative, American style medicare, that leaves millions without coverage, is unacceptable.