Rogers concerned about oversight of health agencies
NDP Health and Community Services Critic Gerry Rogers (MHA, St. John’s Centre) today said the Auditor General’s report points to a number of concerns regarding the province’s Healthline and the NL Centre for Health Information.
These two programs are designed to help provide better service delivery in healthcare for the people of the province. The report indicates that due to lack of oversight by the Minister of Health and Community Services there is no empirical proof that the Healthline is reaching its objectives.
“After six years of operation and $20.5 million spent we do not know if in fact this service has reduced unnecessary or inappropriate physician and emergency department visits,” said Rogers. “Emergency departments at hospitals across the province are still blocked with long wait times and this program was meant to help alleviate the problem. I look forward to the promised report evaluating the Healthline project by March 31, 2013. This is long overdue.”
The report also identified issues at the NL Centre for Health Information – the Centre’s compensation and recruitment practices as well as the general governance within the Centre are problematic.
“The role of the Centre in providing and coordinating information programs is crucial in both the planning and development of health care services,” said Rogers. “Perhaps the salaries are within range of experts in this field, but I wonder why the Minister of Health did not weigh in sooner on these matters. The responsibility of the Centre rests with the Minister, why has the Department seat on the Board of Directors been left vacant for so long? “
“In both instances it appears the Minister of Health and Community Services has not exercised the necessary oversight these crucial programs need,” said Rogers. “I hope this report serves as an effective wakeup call and that these programs get the attention they require.”