• Print


With the numerous changes to the health care system being announced almost daily by the government, Dr. Edward Lyons can hardly wait to come to the Rady JCC and share his long-honed knowledge about navigating the system. The talk will take place during the lunch hour (12noon-1pm) on Mon, Nov 13th at the Rady JCC. (ed. note: It's sold out.)

One of the world’s leading experts in diagnostic ultrasound, Dr. Lyons helped make ultrasound one of the safest and most widely used non-invasive tools in medicine. Working alongside international equipment manufacturers, he has been at the forefront of many advances in radiology for the past 40 years.
“There are millions of changes going on in health care,” said Dr. Lyons.
“I want the Rady talk to be somewhat of a dialogue, where I’ll present some information about surviving the health care system. But, I don’t know that there are a lot of opportunities to ask questions. I’m not the Minister of Health, nor the CEO of the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority [WRHA].
“I’ve been involved in health care for many, many years, so I have some ideas about surviving and working with the system.
“The ground is shifting continuously. Every day and every week, there are new things being brought out by the Manitoba government that are frightening to people. I’d like to open it up and have a discussion with people. I mean, nobody knows exactly how everything will settle out. Nobody knows how the people of Manitoba will take to all these changes.”
Word of the closing of different care centers has, for one, been a cause of major concern for many. And, Dr Lyons is hoping to shed some light on why and how these changes will hopefully help the system work better to help reduce wait times.
“For many years, [when it comes to] health care in Canada, they talk about universal health care, universal access,” said Dr. Lyons. “But, it’s not universally a Grade A system – certainly not compared to the 27 other universal health care coverage systems, countries with universal health care in Europe and around the world.
“Canada, for all the money that we spend, certainly isn’t doing very well. Certainly, in Manitoba, we’ve heard about wait times for everything – wait times to see an ordinary family doctor, a specialist, examinations, and to get surgeries. Everywhere you turn, its hurry up and wait.”
Dr. Lyons has seen many change agents come and go over his career, yet he remains optimistic that the approach of relocating medical resources can work – although, he admits it does sound drastic and will affect many people. “But, maybe at the end of the day, it will be a better solution to what we’ve tried in the past,” he said.

Dr. Lyons shared a story he heard about when high Canadian officials had visited an emergency department in Spain and were dumbfounded to find hat there were no chairs in the waiting room. One of the Canadian officials asked to speak with a senior administrator to find out why. Lyons said the administrator reacted with surprise about the Canadians’ concern regarding the lack of chairs, saying, “This is an emergency department. People come here because they have urgent needs. Why would we want them to sit and wait if they have urgent needs?”

In light of this, Lyons said, “They’ve brought in new ways of dealing with things [in emergency rooms in Canada] – new ways of screening patients, having small groups of doctors and nurses who see new patients as they come in, before they sit down. And, they try to triage them to an urgent environment, when they need a hospital bed or a bed in the emergency department, and need to have some treatment – cardiac problems, accidents with bones or cuts, and those needing urgent care.
“And then, for someone who has had a headache or belly ache for a month, they can be dealt with in a different way.
“Previously, everyone was being lumped into one big basket – everybody sits, everybody waits, and, ultimately, gets seen by doctors. Well, they’re trying to intervene at an earlier stage, and get triaged – seen much more rapidly and effectively. The early reports after about a month of doing it suggest that there is a 40 percent decrease in wait times. And that is good.”