B.C.’s health care system is in crisis says MLA – MLA Minute

If you’ve been reading this column over the past few months, you know that I’ve written extensively about our healthcare system, mostly our primary system where a million British Columbians do not have a family doctor.

This past week has shown us more of the history of the entire healthcare system.

An open letter delivered by a group of cardiologists, respirologists, orthopedists, radiologists and their affiliates sounded the alarm in BC for those awaiting treatment.

They revealed that in addition to the millions of British Columbians without a doctor, there are another million British Columbians on waiting lists to see specialists.

“The patients on our waiting lists are getting sicker and dying. Urgent primary care centers and emergency departments are overwhelmed and unable to provide immediate access to specialists. Increased admissions are putting a strain on the already overburdened hospital system, costing even more money and suffering for patients,” the letter reads.

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Patients get sicker and die (while) they are on waiting lists.

As I read this, my heart sank. This is something I have seen from those close to me and also heard from voters in Kelowna.

There are so many waiting for care and finally it has been numbered for us. These aren’t just headlines, there are real people behind the numbers – neighbors, family, friends.

We are not just patients, we are human beings who deserve so much more dignity than we receive in our healthcare system.

I use the word “system” on purpose as this is not about the healthcare providers.

They are the heroes of this story. The nurses, doctors, nursing assistants, janitors, lab technicians, X-ray technicians, therapists – they continue to go to work understaffed, feeling unsupported and terribly understaffed.

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Just two short days later, another article appeared about cancer treatment in BC

People wait longer in BC for an oncologist and treatment than in any other province. The longer someone waits for cancer treatment, the worse the possible outcomes.

The BC Cancer insider pointed to the highest levels of burnout and stress of any other field of medicine.

Frontline doctors suffer along with their patients. The specialists spoke of “exhaustion”, “demoralized” and “soul-destroying”.

These are our society’s empaths, those who want to help us heal, those who chose to live amidst adversity. They went into medicine to heal, not to watch people get sick and die.

This lack of resources and support is causing doctors to quit and making the situation worse. Unfortunately, the BC government has been almost silent on these issues.

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The specialists’ letter notes that they have asked for a meeting in June but have yet to hear from the health minister. This letter asks for a meeting again as the situation is only worse now.

British Columbia is beautiful. It’s an amazing place to live, but our healthcare system is currently last on too many lists and being last is really a matter of life and death now.

My question for you this week is:

How do you currently experience the healthcare system and what would you do to change it?

I love hearing from you. email me [email protected] or call my office at 250-712-3620.

This article was written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.