Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Silly meeting

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How complicated can it be to remind cab drivers it would helpful if they waited until their fare arrived safely at their door before leaving? Well, the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority has scheduled its third meeting with the cab industry Tuesday to negotiate that very issue.

Cab drivers already play a vital role in community safety by reporting crimes and suspicious activity to police, but it's informal and unregulated. And that's exactly the way it should be on the question of patient safety. It shouldn't take three meetings (and counting) to deliver that friendly message. The idea of legislating responsibility isn't on the table, and it never should be.

That's because the safety of patients leaving hospitals is the responsibility of the health-care system, which has systems in place to ensure people get home without incident. Unfortunately, those systems failed in at least two recent cases when patients were discharged from the Grace Hospital and died on their doorsteps after being dropped off by a taxi.

The WRHA's rules require medical staff to ensure the patient has someone waiting for them. They are also required to be reasonably sure patients are medically ready to be released. Those are good policies, but it's unclear if they were followed. That is the only question the WRHA should be meeting on.

Editorials are the consensus view of the Winnipeg Free Press’ editorial board, comprising Catherine Mitchell, David O’Brien, Shannon Sampert, and Paul Samyn.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 3, 2014 A8

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