SPRING 2009

E X E C U T I V E   D I R E C T O R ' S   M E S S A G E
Cameron report provides blueprint for correcting system


Dawn Mason Photo

 

Robert Ritter

Commissioner Margaret Cameron's final sentence on governance and accountability says it all: “The whole of the health system, to varying degrees can be said to have failed the ER/PR patients. There was a failure of accountability and oversight at all levels.” Despite Justice Cameron’s admonitions, this is a good news story. Here’s why.

By Rob Ritter

After many months of testimony and painstaking analysis, the Report of the Commission of Inquiry on Hormone Receptor Testing has finally been released. The findings of Commissioner Margaret Cameron are sobering indeed. Her final sentence in the section on governance and accountability says it all: “The whole of the health system, to varying degrees can be said to have failed the ER/PR patients. There was a failure of accountability and oversight at all levels.” Despite Justice Cameron’s admonitions, this is a good news story. Here’s why.

Before the proceedings began, the Commissioner indicated that her over-arching goal was to restore public confidence in the health care system. The purpose of the public inquiry was to diagnose the problems and understand their causes. This has been carried out by the Commission with surgical precision. Based on the findings, we have been provided with a blueprint for correcting many of the malfunctions in the system.

Those working in medical care have known for a very long time of the malaise that has permeated the system. We have been ringing alarm bells about the strains of an inadequate workforce, the risks to safety and quality when people are overworked, the need for modernized information systems and the absence of clear pragmatic policies associated with the delivery of health care. The findings of the inquiry reflect the concerns of the NLMA and we are pleased that, for the most part, the recommendations that we submitted to the Commission have been incorporated into the final report.

There is an ever-increasing public demand for more robust accountability and transparency with respect to all who are vested with public trust. The medical profession is no exception and the lessons learned through the inquiry are instructive. Over the coming days and weeks, we will be reviewing the inquiry report in depth with the intention of harvesting the ideas and advice that will assist us in strengthening the practices of the medical profession for the years to come. We urge all our members to read the inquiry report with a positive orientation and look forward to your input as we proceed.

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A connected group or series; a bond, a connection.

Nexus is published quarterly for Newfoundland and Labrador's physicians. It is a forum for the exchange of views, ideas and information for members.