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Ralph Klein has gone and it is time to retire Ralph's World. Thanks to all of you who have supported this venture by contributing material and through your comments. It has been fun.

Should we get another blog underway? Let me know your thoughts by e-mailing me at johnnyslow@gmail.com.

John Slow
January 1, 2007

Sunday, October 31, 2004

THE VALUES DRIVING CORPORATE, FOR PROFIT HEALTH CARE are far from VALUES MOTIVATING PUBLIC HEALTH AND ELDER CARE 

(Here is a try at pulling out some essential messages from the presentation of Dr. Michael Wynne on his experience of health care reform, in Australia and other countries, at the Petroleum Club October 28/04). You can also visit Dr. Wynne's website called Corporate Health Care

(1) The strongest and most compelling motivation in corporate, for profit, health and elder care is the drive to pay as high a dividend as possible to the investors and directors. Unquestioning, almost cult-like, obedience to market ideology is impervious to medical reality.

(2) The compelling motivation in a publicly owned health and elder care system is, or should be, that of providing quality diagnostic and treatment services in response to every citizen's need without discrimination on the basis of income or social status. Moral values, like responsibility, integrity and concern for others characterize public health and elder care.

(3) Once professionals, whether physicians or support staff, enter into contracts with corporate health care managers medical necessitates no longer guide decisions about the kind of treatment to be provided or the length of time required for institutional stays. Professionals are assessed on their contribution to the finances of the corporation rather than on their medical competence.

(4) In a publicly owned and operated health and elder care system; decisions regarding diagnosis and treatment are, or should be, made by those most competent to know what is required for the adequate restoration of health or need for longer term care respecting the dignity of life, even as death becomes inevitable.

(5) Corporate, for profit, health systems are vulnerable to fraud and frequently collapse leaving a trail of trouble behind them. Dr. Wynne spent a significant part of the presentation documenting the corporate attitudes, abuses and unprofessional practices already seen mainly in the U.S.

(6) In a publicly owned system the physical equipment and buildings are the property of the people, via the government. [My comment: even if the government lets publicly financed buildings deteriorate and equipment become obsolete, as is now happening in Alberta, at least the people will not have to pay for buying back what should never have been given away or sold cheaply to private operators in the first place when corporations fail]

(7) If I've interpreted him correctly, what authority does Dr. Michael Wynne have for making these assessments? Well just a professional life time of service in the medical profession including years in South Africa, the United States and now in Australia at the University of Queensland.

This writer would welcome, and even cherish, further blogs that add to this report on Dr. Wynne's message to Alberta, correct any impressions, or add further information.

Sincerely: Blair McPherson

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