Nfld. & Labrador·CRITICAL CONDITION

We asked for your ideas on N.L's health-care system, and you certainly came through

A sampler of some of your proposals to improve the health-care system, from easier ways to refill prescriptions, to the difference that teamwork can make.

Some of the suggestions CBC News received during the Critical Condition series

One family doctor wrote in to say that more active children would help reduce strain on the province's health-care system down the road. (Richard Buchan/Canadian Press)

CBC News readers and audiences are teeming with ideas for improving the quality of health care in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Our Critical Condition series focused on some of the complex and pressing issues within the system, including wait times of multiple years before getting in to see specialists.

We asked you for your suggestions for solutions. 

Here's just some of the email we received at mystory@cbc.ca

Prescription refills just by tapping a screen

How about getting a prescription refilled without having to go to your doctor's office? 

One man informed us it's a reality elsewhere. 

"I have a son working in the United States," he wrote. 

"He normally does not have to go back to the doctor for prescription refills — it can be done online without a visit. It's common, and would save hugely."

There's a call to be able to refill some prescriptions with a simple tap on a screen, rather than having to make a doctor's appointment. (David Donnelly/CBC)

The man went on to talk about other ways that technology is having a positive impact on patients: 

"Going to emergency, wait times can be helped along like [in] Quebec, where patients are entered into an app, given a estimated wait time, and [then] can leave or go home, returning when they get a text or email." 

Thumbs up to teamwork

This nurse practitioner works in Ontario now, but practised in Newfoundland and Labrador for 10 years prior to that.

She has become a big fan of the power of a team.

"I currently work with a family health team as a primary care nurse practitioner in a very collaborative setting," she explained. 

"Our team consists [of] family physicians, registered nurses, nurse practitioners, dietitians, mental health clinicians and pharmacists. It has been a very dramatic and very positive shift for me  in how health care is delivered. 

"I feel [Newfoundland and Labrador] needs to seriously look at how health care is delivered in other provinces. Is it perfect here [in Ontario]? No, but I feel I have been fortunate to be a valuable member [of] our family health team." 

A call for more nurse practitioners

Here's another woman's suggestion for improving health care, especially in rural and isolated parts of the province: 

"I believe that nurse practitioners could be utilized more, especially in the outports," she offered. 

"They could do the initial work-up on patients, treat minor ailments, monitor blood pressure ...  They should have the rights to refer patients onto specialists.

Several people emailed CBC News during the Critical Condition series, calling for more nurse practitioners in Newfoundland and Labrador. (CBC)

"Also, more doctors are needed in our emergency rooms [plus a] better triage system so that really sick people don't have to wait hours on end."

A call for fewer nurses

On the other hand, one person suggests that the number of nurses working in our system should be reduced.

​Look at the money you will save. - Woman proposing more nursing assistants

"Hire a load of nursing assistants to replace nurses," one woman told us. 

"Hospitals will only need a few nurses. Look at the money you will save." 

An ounce of prevention 

A family doctor in St. John's wrote in to us to say that children should be the priority.

"Prevention needs to be a priority in our community and education system, as well as in our health-care system," he affirmed.  

What young people eat really matters, says a family doctor in St. John's. (Getty Images/Flickr RF)

"More physical activity integrated into daily lives of children in schools, more teaching students life skills that will make them healthier, like growing their own food, or learning how to cook healthy meals.  

Prescriptions ... should include nutrition and lifestyle changes.- Family doctor in St. John's

"Healthy options should be the only available options at all of our government facilities, especially our health-care facilities. And prescriptions that are given to people at clinics should include nutrition and lifestyle changes."

Modest user fees

This woman proposed something much more controversial — and she was not the only person to make this suggestion: 

"Every person who visits a doctor should pay $5 per visit," she said, "with a guarantee it would not increase for 10 years." 

Good old gratitude

And finally, we'll give the last word to a man who suffered serious burns when coffee spilled over him during an epileptic seizure. 

Talk about bad luck: one man suffered an epileptic seizure while drinking coffee. He had to be treated for serious burns. (Sonali Karnick/CBC )

He recommended we all get some perspective on our existing system, and maybe even show a little more gratitude.  

"I didn't have to check my credit card the day it happened or see if I had enough in the bank to cover it," the man told us. "I went to the hospital and they fixed it."

"Over the years, there have been concussions from falls, broken bones and on and on...

"While those in our health-care system and the governments that fund them have to be held to account, an old friend in the United States told me the care I got in the fall of 2017 [after being burned] would be $100,000 US or more," he wrote.

"Let's not throw out the baby with the bath water."

Read more articles from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

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