#96 – “Health” “Care” for First Nations

English Canada is laughably bad at providing medical assistance to Indian communities.

Considering that English Canada planned and placed the reserves, the failure stretches long back. But English Canada made its shitty bed, and now it should in theory lie in it. Or it can lie about it instead and hope that nobody notices, which is of course the preferred method of Canadian governance. Alexander Mackenzie, that magnificent stallion of a political figure that he is in Canadian politics, designed an office to actually tell the truth – the Office of the Auditor-General. And here’s the OAG on Indian healthcare:

Lastly, we found that Health Canada was not analyzing the reasons why about 5,000 requests for medical transportation benefits were denied.

Genius! Who needs to know whether criteria for funding are being followed, right? Especially when travel from metropoles like Marathon, ON to London, ON cost several kidneys. VIA Rail says that a train from Northern Ontario to London runs to $800 one way – and that’s with my discounts. Somehow, the poorest people in the country aren’t likely to be able to pony that up, which is why we have a transportation benefit…that we’ve opted to not look at anymore.

Only one of the nurses in our sample had completed all of the mandatory training courses specified by Health Canada that we selected for review. We also found that Health Canada had not put in place supporting mechanisms to allow nurses to perform some activities outside their legislated scope of practice. We also found that nursing stations had unaddressed health and safety requirements or building code deficiencies.

Amazing! Collapsing buildings, poorly-trained staff, and red tape are absolutely in the medical best practices books. Nothing healthier than having your health staff’s hands tied, right? And who needs to look at the buildings that clinics live in, right?

I could do this all day, but what’s astonishing is the constant use of the phrase “no supporting mechanisms”. Flying blind is extremely dangerous in the realm of policy – you need feedback to see if things are working in order to use money efficiently and in a socially-positive way. Shockingly, making shit up and sucking Rick Mercer’s greasy Canadian flagpole propaganda down doesn’t make clinics work. Like this!

Lastly, we found that Health Canada had not assessed whether each nursing station was capable of providing essential health services or communicated to First Nations individuals what essential services were provided at each nursing station.

Can you help me, doc? Who knows? We sure don’t, and if we did we wouldn’t tell you anyways. Making rules without looking is like not bothering to check whether a firing range is free of people before you start shooting. Wasting time, effort, energy, morale, and money on a half-baked system that doesn’t work and that you don’t bother looking after but hope will keep people off your back is embarrassing.

Or, more accurately, it’s Canadian.

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