News Stories of Interest, Monday, Jan. 21, 2014

Hi there, it’s Erroll Barrow Day, a public holiday in Barbados that marks the birthday of the first prime minister of the nation, located in the Lesser Antilles. And that seems to be it for official holidays worldwide. Here in Alberta, there were quite a few stories of interest to UNA members and staff.

[ ]Report says doctors refused to treat emission-area residents

Some Peace River area doctors are afraid to speak out about health impacts of oil and gas activity and in some cases have declined to treat area residents who wondered if their health problems were related to emissions, says one of two independent health experts hired by the Alberta Energy Regulator. “Physicians are quite frankly afraid to diagnose health conditions linked to the oil and gas industry,” wrote Sears, adding she heard several times about the case of Dr. John O’Connor who was threatened with losing his licence after raising an alarm about cancer rates in Fort Chipewyan.

[ ]Calgary high school students exposed to measles

Alberta Health Services says anyone at Western Canada High School in Calgary between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Friday, January 10, 2014 may have been exposed to a confirmed case of measles. Meanwhile, a group of travellers have the s[ ]ame problem.

[ ]Edmonton flu clinic to close

Edmonton’s temporary influenza care clinic will close as of 11 p.m. tonight.

[ ]Alberta response to H1N1 makes sense: Chief MOH

Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health defends the province’s recent urgent call for more Albertans to be vaccinated against the H1N1 flu virus in this Edmonton Journal op-ed story. “There were sound reasons for urging Albertans to get the influenza shot a few weeks ago,” Dr. James Talbot writes. “The influenza season was still about four weeks from its peak, and vaccination rates were still low.” Here’s a [ ]Global TV interview with Dr. Talbot.

[ ]Peak flu season getting under way: Medicine Hat News

Flu peak season is about to begin and Alberta already has 2,220 cases of H1N1 influenza, says Alberta Health Services, according to the Medicine Hat News. “Usually the peak is the third week in January,” said Dr. Vivien Suttorp, AHS South Zone medical officer of health. “Sometimes there is an early peak and a second peak later on in the season, perhaps in March/April.”

[ ]Misinformation kept people from getting flu shot: study

Fewer than four in ten Canadians have been immunized against influenza, and the principal reason for not getting the flu shot is mistrust of vaccines, according to a new national poll. “Fully a third of those who won’t get a shot – or almost a fifth of the adult population – make this choice because they think vaccines are dangerous,” said Lorne Bozinoff, president of Forum Research, which conducted the poll.

[ ]Only 41% of Canadians got quick appointments with family docs

Canada ranks last in an international comparison that looks at how quickly patients can get in to see their family doctors. Only 41 per cent of Canadians can get an appointment the same day or next with their primary care provider, according to a new report from the Health Council of Canada.

[ ]Consider obesity a disease, columnist says

There are several reasons why obesity should be considered a disease, and treated accordingly, says the physician who authors the Globe and Mail’s Health Advisor column.

[ ]Alberta wait times moving in the wrong direction

Instead of moving closer toward their goal, Alberta Health Services is actually moving farther away from meeting its wait time targets, new numbers show.

[ ]Seniors are dying to be heard

Across Canada, reports of seniors being fatally attacked by other seniors in care facilities have spurred urgent calls to track similar incidents and to act on inquest recommendations that could prevent future tragedies among older, or mentally ill, people.

[ ]Whistleblower Commissioner gets few calls

Alberta’s “Whistleblower Commissioner” gets so few calls he’s become the Maytag repairman of Alberta politics, says the Edmonton Journal’s political correspondent. Since being named Alberta’s first public interest commissioner on June 1, Peter Hourihan and his team of six investigators have received a total of 96 calls. Of those, most were for information and assistance about the province’s new Public Interest Disclosure Act, also known as the Whistleblower Protection Act, designed to protect government employees who report legal violations that threaten the public good or that involve a gross mismanagement of public funds.

[ ]Cuts to pensions not needed: AFL et. al.

For those of you who missed it the first time, here’s a follow to the AFL’s pension coalition news release on the government’s planned pension changes that showed up in an on-line Calgary publication.

David Climenhaga
Communications Advisor
United Nurses of Alberta
780-425-1025 (Office)
780-717-2943 (Cellular)

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