health systeGive health care system an MRI

It has been professional and thorough, but generally the investigations are conducted behind closed doors, and in at least one case its full report was initially withheld by Alberta Health Services.

Thats why theres merit to the united call Friday by opposition party leaders and independent Tory Dr. Raj Sherman for an independent inquiry held in public before a judge. While Sherman hasnt been able to provide evidence of coverups, Albertans now are aware of allegations filed in court by a top thoracic surgeon who claims he was lsely accused of being mentally unbalanced and pushed out of his job for advocating publicly for more health care resources.

Premier Ed Stelmachs reluctant call to the Health Quality Council of Alberta Thursday to investigate emergency-room delays and cancer wait lists may be a case of too little, too late. The premier now says an independent review is necessary to clear the air and counter reckless allegations that are eroding trust in the provinces health system. Its a complete reversal from his position just a few days ago.

The Health Quality Council has conducted a number of investigations since it was formed in 2002. It probed complex health matters ranging from shoddy equipment-sterilization practices in some hospitals to tal health-care mistakes in others, and most recently it reviewed the problems in the execution of the H1N1 vaccination prohealth systeGive health care system an MRIgram.

If Stelmach truly wants to restore public confidence in the provinces health-care system, an open and transparent public inquiry that offers immunity from persecution to health-care workers who testify might well be the best course. If were committed to fixing the health system, lets give it a comprehensive MRI to make sure we all know exactly where the problems lie.

health systeGive health care system an MRI,Stelmachs delayed announcement came nearly five months after the Health Quality Council publicly offered to investigate allegations made by doctors regarding substandard emergency-room care, and more than twhealth systems trusto years after the doctors provided the health ministry with a list of more than 300 examples. The government initially chose to launch an internal investigation that has been going nowhere because doctors have been reluctant to come forward with criticisms and put their heads on a chopping block.

The council will also be constrained by the terms and conditions that have yet to be announced by the health minister. It seems unlikely, for example, that the council will be given a mandate to look into allegations of intimidation of health-care workers or claims doctors have been paid off to keep silent.

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