International News Desk – At Home: Eastern Health offers patient shuffle as health care solution – In Foreign News: Senator Barack Obama clinches Democratic Party nomination

International News Desk – At Home: Eastern Health offers patient shuffle as health care solution – In Foreign News: Senator Barack Obama clinches Democratic Party nomination

At Home: Eastern Health offers patient shuffle as health care solution

As the recent cancer-testing scandal revealed, Newfoundland and Labrador’s health care system is in a woeful state, and the latest move by Eastern Health seems destined to add to the problem.

Currently, there’s a serious bed shortage for hospital patients in the province. As the CBC reports, nurses have long called on the government to fix the problem as ?sick and elderly patients line up on stretchers in emergency room corridors while waiting for a space.?

Eastern Health, the province’s largest health authority, has offered a Band-Aid: move overflow patients out of hospitals and into personal care homes. In mid-August, Eastern Health put out a call for tenders from personal care homes, but the pilot project has several potential problems.

First, although doctors and nurses in the province agree that some action is necessary, they’re concerned that this temporary solution will have a negative effect on patient care, and that a more permanent solution is necessary. Debbie Forward, president of the Newfoundland and Labrador Nurses Union, told reporters the government must find a long-term resolution beyond the six-month pilot program.

?This is a Band-Aid, but I think you need a bigger picture, which is government’s issues around the direction of health services in the province, because we don’t have an adequate home-care system.?

And without an adequate home-care system to start with, filling beds with hospital patients is only going to add to the frustrations of people who are already on waiting lists to get into those homes.

Follow-up care of hospital patients is another potential problem area. The CBC reports that Dr. Elizabeth Callahan, president of the Newfoundland and Labrador Medical Association, has questioned ?what sort of care patients who are transferred out of the hospital will receive in a care home.?

?There are lots of inherent problems,? Callahan said. ?Who actually looks after the patient there, do they go back to their family doctor? Are they looked after by the doctor who looks after patients in that home? In that situation, it could fragment the patient’s care.?

With an initial goal of moving 50 patients per year from hospitals to personal-care homes, the six-month pilot project could be extended after a review.

In Foreign News: Senator Barack Obama clinches Democratic Party nomination

It may have seemed like a foregone conclusion, but Barack Obama’s nomination by the Democratic Party on August 27 was a truly historic event. Not only is he the first African-American to become a major party nominee for president, his nomination also signalled the end of a long-running political dominance held by two powerful Democratic families: the Kennedys and the Clintons.

The freshman Illinois senator won the nomination with a total of 1,549 votes, compared with 231 for Hilary Clinton.

In spite of the often-heated rhetoric during the Democratic primaries, both Bill and Hilary Clinton publicly backed Obama at the convention and, as the New York Times reports, it was Hilary Clinton who ?moved that the roll call be suspended and that Mr. Obama be declared the party’s nominee by acclamation.?

Obama has already signalled his choice for running mate: Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware.

It’s expected that Biden’s presence will be a valuable asset in the Democratic camp during the run-up to the general election. While Obama only became a member of the United States Senate less than four years ago, the presumptive Republican nominee, John McCain, is running on a platform that stresses experience, portraying him as ?an experienced conservative leader in the tradition of Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, and Ronald Reagan.?

The US general election will be held November 4, and with both parties? primaries soon wrapping up, the 2008 presidential race will continue to be one to watch.

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