Friday, August 01, 2008

Cancer Doctors Threaten Outmigration

It appears that the salary raise for Pathologists earlier this year was the last straw for three frustrated gynecologic oncologists who are threatening to resign in October. They are the only three such specialists in the province to treat and care for ovarian and cervical cancer patients, and there are only about 50 such doctors in the country. According to Dr. Patty Power who was interviewed on Canada AM earlier, she and other doctors have been trying for years to get government to improve the level of treatment care the hospital could provide - inadequate equipment and resources.

"If your mother was diagnosed with an ovarian cancer in Newfoundland, she would not receive the same treatment in Newfoundland as she would in Ontario or B.C. or any of the other Canadian provinces," (cbc)

She did also say that being the lowest paid in the country is a factor as well, and if no improvements are made between now and the fall, it will make that much harder to recruit replacement specialists.

This is scary for patients who depend on doctors like Power, but also maddening. For fellow blogger Peter Whittle it's personal as well. He believes heads should roll over this one. The option of flying patients out for treatments is not new for patients in the province. If a procedure like donor bone marrow transplant for example, is not done here, then you can opt to be sent to an out of province hospital. When your life depends on it, you'll go where you have to - personally I'm thankful for that. However, to add more to the list seems to be a backward step. Depending on one's level of energy, disease phase, and condition, traveling out of province can be an added hurdle to people who need to muster every ounce of strength to fight and survive life threatening diseases. It can also be a drain financially, for the patient and the province. If 100's more ovarian and cervical patients have to be flown out for treatment, wouldn't it be just as well for the health department to invest that same money here for equipment, resources and salary?

The province has a huge debt, yes, and it should also concentrate on cutting that down significantly. As well, this year alone is looking better than last years record surplus because of record high oil prices. The province is in a better position than ever to do something about the particular problems described by Dr. Power and others.

1 comment:

Cameron Inquiry said...

The Newfoundland & Labrador Government has a mess on their hands with this and the entire breast cancer scandal. Come to The Cameron Inquiry Blog, click on Discussion, sign up for the forum and discuss this!