Point Counterpoint


The BC health care worker influenza protection policy is an evidence-supported, systematically implemented, and ethically defensible program that has successfully improved influenza vaccine coverage among health care workers in the province and, as a result, improved protection for our vulnerable patients. In response to Mr Offley’s critique of the policy, we present the following evidence.

First, the policy is supported by the majority of health care workers in BC, according to a recent survey, and has been upheld as reasonable at arbitration in BC.[1]

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When a public health policy is put into effect to reduce a risk to patients, best practice calls for evidence that the risk actually exists, consistent application of the policy, and an assessment of whether the policy achieves its stated goals. Failure to meet these criteria indicates the need to reconsider the policy. 

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There is growing evidence that engaging patients in simple and inexpensive ways to support their own health can have a significant impact on outcomes in diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer. A growing body of evidence suggests that engaging cancer patients in their health (i.e., exercise, healthful nutrition, stress reduction, emotional support, etc.) can substantially improve quality of life, reduce the risk of recurrence, improve survival, and reduce overall health care costs. 

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Dr Wheeler defends and explains the guidelines he says were created to give psychiatric patients the same access to care as medical patients.

I have had an opportunity to review Dr Dagg’s thoughtful response to the article published in the October 2009 issue of the BCMJ, “Criteria for sedation of psychiatric patients for air transport in British Columbia.” I feel that I have to respond to some of the points that he raised.

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