Don’t blame Red Deer health region

I am delighted to see the speed with which the H1N1 immunization is being distributed to the public in an orderly fashion at last, but I must admit that I have a problem with some of the solutions that have been used.

I am delighted to see the speed with which the H1N1 immunization is being distributed to the public in an orderly fashion at last, but I must admit that I have a problem with some of the solutions that have been used.

First, I would like to say that Red Deer health region has effectively run clinics for many years and I don’t want them to be the brunt of complaints. These are good people that have provided excellent care for our citizens. They are being told nothing until the last minute about future plans and are unable to answer the questions of the public.

This year a problem that is unique has required altering immunizations, but poor decisions have been made, higher up the chain, to regulate all clinics, and the problems of different areas of the province have not been considered.

Certainly, they needed to determine who should receive the shots first, but the local authorities should be able to use their common sense to decide when that can be enlarged on.

At the moment everyone is restricted by rules made for Calgary and Edmonton. Decisions have been made by a group that appears to be totally unaware, that smaller cities or rural areas are different. Yet, all must “do as told.”

Empty clinic chairs sit and wait as four people arrive and 16 nurses wait to immunize.

A pregnant mother arrives for her shot with a three year old, and another child that is three days over the limit of five years, and is told she must return later for that child to be done. In some cases the family has had a lengthy drive to come to this clinic.

Another problem I have with the system, is that the clinics are now being staffed by paid employees.

Evidently, the health region must now pay their employees to come in to do a job that has been adequately done previously, by volunteers.

For example, this means a health inspector stands at the door, hands out a number and form, and waits for the next arrival. Other office staff are also working extra days and being paid to check forms.

The aforementioned volunteer who has done this job for years, sits idle, loses interest and I’m sure will be reluctant to offer her services in the future.

Had the instructions for the new process been relayed to the volunteers, I know these clinics could have run just as effectively, without at least five of the present paid staff members being present.

I am pleased to see that the province has enough money to absorb the increase in clinic costs that this will incur. As a senior I hope they save some money to care for me should I need medical help in the future.

Lynn Andersen

Red Deer