News Stories of Interest, Friday, Feb. 21, 2014

Good morning. It’s International Mother Language Day, announced by UNESCO in 1999. So be nice to your mother language today. Here in Alberta, there were a few news stories of interest to UNA members and staff:

[ ]Alarm raised over after-hours care

The province’s medical watchdog is worried many doctors may be failing to ensure their patients get adequate care outside office hours. Dr. Trevor Theman, registrar of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta, is warning practitioners they need to arrange appropriate coverage for the people they treat if they are unavailable on evenings or weekends.

[ ]Thyroid cancer diagnoses nearly triple but many tumours harmless

A dramatic rise in thyroid cancer has resulted partly from overdiagnosis and treatment of tumours too small to ever cause harm, according to a U.S. study that found cases nearly tripled since 1975.

[ ]Redford school promises may never be kept: AFL

“The Redford Government’s P3 schools experiment has been all but abandoned by the construction industry,” Alberta Federation of Labour president Gil McGowan says in a news release. “The Redford government needs to be honest with Albertans about how and when new schools will be built. Families in new neighborhoods can’t send their children to a school made of government press releases held up by hot air.”

[ ]Video: U of A islet transplant gives girl new lease on life

Lauren Miner, 13, is looking at a new lease on life after a groundbreaking surgery in Edmonton. Miner, diagnosed with a rare hereditary pancreatitis, had her pancreas removed by doctors, who inserted the organ’s islet cells into her liver.

[ ]Ontario Tories claim to have abandoned ‘right-to-work’ proposal

Ontario Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak has backed down from a proposal to bring controversial anti-union "right to work" legislation to the province. In a breakfast speech to a business audience in Toronto Friday, Mr. Hudak said he would not abolish mandatory union dues if elected premier. "We’re not going to do it," he said. "We won’t touch the Rand Formula."

[ ]Fewer tests, less treatment, can make for better medicine

Scientific studies show that some tests do not contribute positively to care and can cause harm, says an opinion article in the Globe and Mail, therefore avoiding unnecessary tests can add up to better medicine. Warning: this article reeks of medical politics, and readers aren’t provided with the full background.

[ ]Ontario moves to halt soaring health executive salaries

Ontario will move soon to control soaring wages of top health-care executives across the province, Health Minister Deb Matthews says. The Toronto Star says there is detailed evidence of huge executive pay raises, a mounting culture of fear in all parts of the system, and major cuts in critical health-care services, especially in parts of the home-care field. In 2012, the last year for which figures are available, the average salary of chief executive officers at the 14 Community Care Access Centres in Ontario was $234,000. In contrast, many health-care workers, such as personal support workers, earn less than $20,000 and haven’t had a raise in years – and many have seen their income drop in the past decade.

Have a great weekend, everyone.

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

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