By Angelica Blenich
Many of those relying on health care in Haliburton County believe there needs to be more focus on front line staff and less on government bureaucracy.
That was one of the many messages delivered at a public consultation on the future of Canadian health care hosted by the Haliburton Highlands Family Health Team and the City of Kawartha Lakes Family Health Team on Feb. 24.
The last of six consultations hosted throughout the region the meeting offered the chance to provide feedback on health care with all comments and concerns being submitted in a final report to provincial and federal government officials.
Facilitated by Mike Perry executive director of the CKL Family Health Team the consultation was an opportunity to look at the good and bad aspects of health care.
A variety of issues were raised throughout the hour-and-a-half meeting including the lack of specialists in the area and the inconvenience and expense of travelling far to meet with a specialist insufficient home-care support and the dwindling number of spots in long-term care facilities.
A reoccurring theme of the consultation was the duplication of services and levels of government with some participants asking about the difference between the Family Health Team the Haliburton Highlands Health Services and the Central East Local Health Integration Network.
“It seems like there are too many chiefs and not enough hands” said Carol Browne.
Participants brought up the lack of personal support workers in the area which many thought had to do with the amount of responsibility placed on them and the low compensation.
Minden resident Karl Braeker took issue with the lack of focus on a healthy lifestyle and preventative measures for poor health which in the long run could alleviate many of the current system’s problems.
Braeker brought up the importance of food labelling in grocery stores and the need for a recreation complex both of which would help Haliburton residents make better choices.
“What frustrates me is I believe we have an excellent system … it doesn’t take much to make it better it wouldn’t cost much” said Braeker.
President of the Haliburton CARP chapter Bob Stinson spoke to the importance of taking care of seniors and addressing that rising demographic in the county.
Stinson believed attention should be turned to better home care as this was a way to keep health-care costs down.
Others pointed to information sharing as a problem citing the Haliburton and Minden hospitals as two facilities within close proximity that don’t communicate effectively.
Perry said many branches of the health-care system use different types of computer software which creates problems for staff and personnel.
All comments and concerns from the consultation will be submitted to the government as federal funding for healthcare is to be renewed in 2014.
Although invited to participate local MP Barry Devolin and MPP Laurie Scott did not attend any of the six consultations said Perry.