Tuesday, January 27, 2009


As a recently retired paramedic I, of course, side with my former colleagues.

They are grossly under managed by a cadre of "old timers" or those brought up by the old timers. Their management style is still a hierarchal one with those near the top getting all the support and consideration while those at the lower levels are still looked on as "part time wannabes". Hence the governments disdain and offering only 2%. They never get to know the real side of the story.

Government has always looked on and used the BC Ambulance Service as a "cost over run buffer" for their screw ups in other areas of health care. Their budgets are constantly being raided by other ministries or areas within the health ministry. Their managers are very inept at getting and retaining planning and operating funds and never know what to do with what they've got because it comes at them in unplanned for dribs and drabs.

Having said that the Union Management side of the equation isn't much better. There isn't a professional manager within the organization and that's why they are asking today for such a high raise. It's to try and make up for the way they have been held back by an uncaring health ministry for the last 14 years. Unfortunately they won't get it. The unprofessional union negotiators will again be fooled by their professional negotiators and the hard working paramedics will again bear the brunt of this ineptitude.

Paramedics deserve to be paid as much as any policeman and deserve the respect that so often alludes them. This eludes then due to the fact that they are seldom seen at the "scene of the crime" so to speak. By the time the media arrives to tell the story the paramedics have already been and gone, off to the hospital and performing unsung miracles en route. Paramedics face life and death situations almost every shift where a policeman might only encounter one occasionally.

It's certainly time that they were re-reimbursed for their sacrifices and skills. 18% would be a good starting point.


When I reported my very favorable recent experience with the health care system to a friend the other day, he added that we couldn't as a nation continue on the current path.

He argues that, while our system is wonderful, it is unacceptably expensive, eating up roughly 50% of all government budgets and climbing.

What should we do?

Allow more private practitioners?

Cut back services?

Do serious audits on hospitals, for example, to cut away administrative costs?

Learn how to cost out surgical operations?

Pay doctors flat rates?

Allow nurses more responsibilities?

Please share your thoughts on this crucial and central issue. We are an aging population and the costs for our health care can only increase.

Can we afford what we have? Can we afford to not have what we have? What can and must we do to make it all more workable?

I encourage you on this page to a full and vigorous debate.

Thank you in advance.


When you read the stories about a possible strike by paramedics here on B.C., be sure to read the fine print.

If this job action does, in fact, occur, ambulances would not be parked. Paramedics fall under the province's essential-service law.

However, the public would be effected.

The workers are asking for parity with the police, which means a 31% wage hike.

The province is offering 2%.

Clearly, they are both out of their trees.

My basic sympathies are with the paramedics. They do great work and they are, time and time again, amazing in their calm, smooth professionalism under often dreadful circumstances.

But 31% is not going to go over with a world in financial mourning. How about 18%?

And the government's 2% offering is sheer insult.

Let's hope some good old common sense and reasonableness prevail -and quickly.


Signs of the recession?

1) The biggest growth company around is McDonald's.

Fuelled by fear and small pockets, Americans and eaters world-wide are charging to the arches in record numbers. More than 1,000 new emporia will open around the double cheeseburger globe this year.

Conclusion? Poverty is not healthy. But we knew that, didn't we.

2) Pharma-giant Pfizer has bought almost giant Wyeth for $68 Billion.

Pfizer's biggest sellers?

Viagra, Zoloft and Lipitor.

At least, Lipitor has known recognizable medical uses. It's the number one prescribed pill to combat bad cholesterol numbers.

Viagra...well, you know. And Zoloft is one of those highly debatable psychotropic drugs which, aside from being monstrously over prescribed, are polluting our waterways after the anxious piss the residues into the sewage systems.

Wyeth's number one elixir is Effexor - an antidepressant. Only $4 Billion a year in sales. Lovely.


Heart-stopping bad fat foods and questionable instant cures for daily stress are the growth industries and always have been.

Who knew?

We were busy eating salads and fish oils and riding our bikes. What ever were we thinking?