A Word from the President

Colleagues, there are 4 items I wish to highlight to you this month.

  1.  The Good News.

In February, the FEI process was told that projects approved at that time were unlikely to be funded in the 2018/2019 budget. As we are clear that we must have the ability to pay physicians what we promised, this meant that the amount available for QI projects in 2019 / 2020 was severely restricted. Your Executive appealed this decision to the SSC, and we are delighted to announce that our appeal has been successful: we are back to being able to spend all the current financial year’s allocation on projects approved this year. Thanks especially to Erica Kjekstad for stick-handling our way through this.

  1. The Medical Staff Rules.

The Legislative Committee (on which we are funding several representatives) is continuing to meet, and hopefully the Rules will be finished soon. This is important but dull work, and the committee has to consider all points of view. I sat on a CHR Medical Staff Rules committee with Ernie Higgs as Medical Director 20 years ago, and remember thinking then (as well as now) that I could write them all out myself faster if people would only agree that what I said was correct; alas, they don’t, so this is the process. I have put them on the agenda of the last two MSA meetings, hoping that we would have a final version each time. I think we are near to completion, and will publish them on the website and, depending on the version and the feedback, maybe hold a special MSA meeting.

  1. The Budget Cycle.

At the last MSA meeting, Kim Kerrone, Island Health’s Chief Financial Officer and V-P, Legal Services and Risk, gave an excellent and clear presentation on our budget, the constraints the Ministry puts on us, the way new funding has been targeted, with no discretion for spending it on other clinical needs, and the constant need to balance more demands with finite dollars. At the time of the meeting, Island Health had not received the final dollar total of the budget available from the Ministry for this year – even though the year is well under way.  Details are on the website.

However, and this is important: if clinicians want to advocate for new clinical activities, now is the time to start working out the proposals, for potential funding next April. Proposals will need to be reviewed through the lenses of the Ministry’s priorities, the Island Health mandate letter from the Minister and the Island Health strategic plan. This is not (in my opinion) to suggest that proposals for good patient care have to be confined to items that fit under these categories. If it clearly helps good patient care, we need to advocate for it, and give our Board ammunition to do so as well. This must be done in the next few months, and will require support from our administrative colleagues. Not all will be successful, but as Wayne Gretzky said “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”

  1. Parking.

We have had survey sheets up in the Doctors’ Lounges to try and find out how often doctors who have paid for parking are finding it difficult to access. There has also been a web survey, and the results are waiting to be analysed and summarised. We will try to address the issue, and if necessary, repeat the surveys in in the bleak mid-winter, when there is likely to be a higher incidence of problems.


Happy summer days to all,

Don Milliken

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