Another strike for Lean: health pros unhappy in ineffective system

81 per cent of doctors say they don’t have resources to be effective

A new survey shows doctors, nurses and health professionals are not happy with the way things are going, years into the government’s controversial Lean experiment to overhaul health care.

Only 19 per cent of doctors feel they now have the tools and resources to be effective and productive. That’s according to a memo from Saskatoon Health Region’s leadership, which outlines the region’s preliminary results from a province-wide survey.

NDP health critic Danielle Chartier said the preliminary results show things are getting worse instead of better seven years into the Lean experiment in health care. That includes three years of a four-year system-wide contract with an expensive American Lean consultant.

“What I’m hearing often from health professionals is that the government’s Lean-driven system is all about consultants and management techniques, turning entirely away from the basics in patient care,” said Chartier. “To see in these survey results how epidemic that has become – so much so that doctors and nurses feel they can’t be effective in their jobs – that should be a stark wake-up call to government to stop Lean now.”

Health outcomes like adverse events, patient pain management and death after serious surgery are also getting worse, according to the government’s own statistics. Chartier said the government’s obsession with Lean program has become a dangerous distraction as well as a waste of time and money.

“The government is sending highly-paid CEOs, managers and ministry staff to be certified in Lean instead of doing their jobs while doctors, nurses and health care workers are forced to attend paper-airplane-folding seminars. The government is ignoring health care professionals and listening only to its $40 million American Lean consultant.”

With doctors reporting they’re unhappy, lacking the tools they need to be effective and concerned about their own personal health and well-being at work, Chartier said the government is creating even more acute physician recruitment and retention challenges.

The survey results revealed by the Saskatoon Health Region executive memo include:

  • Only 19 per cent of doctors and 28 per cent of employees feel they have the tools and resources to be effective.
  • Employees expressed concerns over how performance is managed.
  • Doctors are concerned about personal health and well-being at work.
  • Physician engagement is 24 per cent. Employee engagement is 36 per cent.
  • 82 per cent of doctors and 78 per cent of employees do not see evidence of effective leadership
  • Only 19 per cent feel confident that action will be taken on the concerns they expressed in the survey