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What's in the news: Oct. 28 -- Dal med school on probation: accreditation body

Dalhousie med school on probation
Dalhousie's medical school is on probation after it failed to attain accreditation from an American auditing body. The school (left) was marked non-compliant in 17 of 132 areas initially but managed to get seven of those overturned. The probation lasts up to two years, but the school is still accredited in the meantime. [Dalhousie Medical School news release] "It's a reputational black mark," Dr Tom Marrie, the school's dean, told the Canadian Medical Association Journal. "The program is still a good program. It’s still accredited." [CMAJ] [Saint John Telegraph-Journal]

H1N1 flu vaccination campaign launch marred by logistics troubles
This week is the first full week of H1N1-flu vaccination in Canada and already there have been problems. Montrealers were supposed to receive doses on Monday but logistical problems for patients and doctors alike caused a minimum one-day delay. The Gazette called Monday a "confusing non-start" but health officials said the problems were just a hiccup. [Montreal Gazette] In Calgary, Monday's vaccine roll-out was marred by similarly frustrating planning, and patients eager to get immunized left long lines without getting the shot. Alberta health minister Ron Liepert absolved himself of responsibility for the difficulties, placing it entirely on his public health staffers. [Calgary Sun] In Ontario, some patients waited as long as three hours to be immunized. [Toronto Star]

This year's Chalk River nuclear power plant shutdown, which put a strain on hospitals' supplies of radioisotopes used in diagnostic imaging exams, will delay diagnoses, Canadian Society of Nuclear Medicine president Dr Jean-Luc Urbain told Members of Parliament. "We are not necessarily going to see the effect of the shortage of isotopes today, but we'll see it six months down the road, a year down the road, two years down the road," he said. [Edmonton Sun]

New Brunswick will review 30,000 radiology reports prepared by Dr Bhagwan Jain, who is suspected of having made an unacceptably high number of errors. [CBC News]

Alberta introduced its new pharmaceutical strategy, slashing generic drug prices and promising new fees for pharmacists to make up for the lost income. [Edmonton Journal]

Saskatchewan's Tony Dagnone presented his findings as commissioner of the province's Patients First Review, with a list of recommendations for the government on ways to improve care from the patient's perspective. [Patients First Review report] [Regina Leader-Post] [Saskatoon StarPhoenix]

Taser International, the manufacturer of the controversial stun guns, issued a warning not to fire its weapons at people's chests. In addition to making the use of the weapon safer, the company's bulletin said, the new policy will enhance "the ability to defend such cases in post event legal proceedings." [Taser International safety bulletin (PDF)] [CBC News] The RCMP has already begun to change its policies in accordance with the company's counsel. [CBC News]

The federal government should include healthcare facilities in its stimulus spending, Canadian Medical Association president-elect Dr Anne Doig said, calling the decision not to do so "shameful." "The federal government has chosen not to invest these funds in health facilities, and this is inexplicable," said Dr. Doig. [CMA News]

The CMA launched a new website,, to aid doctors with addictions and other personal problems. [CMA News]

A Toronto hospital clerk was fired for turning away an uninsured immigrant seven-year-old who was bleeding from a head wound. [Toronto Star]

Prescription opiate abuse is on the rise in British Columbia, according to a new study from UBC. [Canadian Press]

Supervised crack-smoking sites are needed to protect users' health, said BC's public health chief.
[Globe and Mail] [National Post]

The McGill University Health Centre hospital network is now giving out free gym memberships to its breast cancer patients, based on evidence that physical activity is associated with higher cancer survival rates. McGill University researchers will follow the women given gym memberships to add to the medical literature on the subject [MUHC news release]

Doctors are to blame for the lack of access to medical marijuana in Quebec, alleged one prominent medical-marijuana activist. [Le Devoir]

Dr Ray Wiss discussed his Afghanistan experience and his new book on his time there as a physician with the Canadian Forces. [Toronto Star] Dr Kevin Patterson, an author and military veteran who has worked as a civilian physician in Kandahar, reviewed the book favourably. [Globe and Mail] Dr Wiss published some of his diaries last year in the National Review of Medicine, not long after returning from the war. [NRM]

Six physicians and researchers were named to the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame: Alan C Burton, James Hogg, William A Cochrane, Vera Peters, Phil Gold, and Calvin R Stiller. [Canadian Medical Hall of Fame]

Photo: Dalhousie Medical School

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  1. sharon28 October, 2009 2:17 PM


  2. sharon28 October, 2009 2:21 PM

    RE: Dalhousie medical school accreditation

    .....also included in the news release is this paragraph

    'Though Dalhousie Medical School graduates lead the country in obtaining their first choice of residency placements in the national competition organized by the Canadian Resident Matching Service and consistently score in the top quartile of Canadian medical students in national licensure exams, the school is using this probationary status as an opportunity to renew its curriculum. ' 
    end of paste

    I think this "obtaining first choice in residency placements" is an outstanding indicator of peer acceptance. Congrats!

    At the same time I think Dalhousie should check for a ? double standard/ bias in how reporting deficiencies are handled" by the American accreditation source
    In this instance accreditation was granted and celebrated...and the shortcomiings were listed as " transitional issues "( note the # of transitional issues).
    In the case of Dalhousie there are only 10 ?transitional issues left to be manged.
    Anything wrong with this picture?

    P.S. If you want a world class outstanding recommendation for Dalhousie...this is it:

  3. sharon28 October, 2009 2:22 PM

    RE: Saskatchewan

    Read this portion of the report and note key features:

    1. the corrections recommended are a restructuring of the "system".
    In Walter's story they go ( in the span of two sentences) from describing a "communications" problem during the early "symptomatic" period of a health Walter getting his foot amputated.
    Throughout Walter's problem the report profiles there is no "access-based position" in the delivery of health services in Canada . Then they proceed to illustrate how medical expertise will solve the matter through belonging to a team (PHT) that will "be aware" of his needs.

    The time is here where Canada must recognise and join the thrust of the entire world towards any segment of their population that lives their everyday in what they used to call " third world status".

    This is being discussed eveyhere in the world except Canada.

    Aboriginals in Canada need an " access-based" position for delivering all the determinants of Populaion Health. They need it in concert with the " civil society" thrust where the " nationals" within their own society are equipped to offer a "cluster" of services in a "cluster" of service workers...... in direct everyday relationship with the client.

    There IS a way to do this. However, we can only watch the rest of the world to initiate these actions....and maybe some point....... we will do them here ...????

    P.S. Read my lips..... what was happening in Walter's everyday to explain the gap between noticing he could not manage a proper assessment..TO... getting his foot amputated!!

    On a more sober note to clinicians, academics, and politicians please note these remarks:
    The medical and non-medical determinants of health need to be " ministered " to from three positions:
    1. "needs-based"
    where the public purse assumes the cost and extends service responsibility from an organized health provider group.
    2. wants (variety)-based
    where the private sector forms groups to capture the delivery of service monies from both the payor ...and the client
    3. access-based
    where geography dictates the economies of scale for both " loss" and " gain" from positions 1. and 2. do not warrant provision of service

    NOTE: # 3 position and all related discussions about it in Canada have effectively been squashed by position #2.
    As we move into a " service credits" ( equivalent in value to carbon credits ) we will become the last dog in the race.

    The irony? Position #2 will experience the greatest loss.