Ten months of tracking the deterioration and cuts of services to rural hospitals in British Columbia has been a large part of the daily process of working towards a solution for the Emergency Room crisis at Princeton General Hospital.
Save our Similkameen (SOS) is one of the groups that have been dedicated to solving this crisis. The wall in the Community Hospital Forum on Vermilion Ave., houses the map of the 148 B.C., communities that have been suffering the loss of their medical care services.
SOS believes it is time for a change. A change to the policy that has these 148 rural communities in the state they are. Centralization of healthcare services to larger centres is not successful in rural communities or any part of B.C. For instance, in the local region, many patients are having to travel all the way to Kelowna Hospital for care because the regional hospital in Penticton is often overcrowded.
Princeton is a resource based community with many high risk jobs. These resources contribute more than 4 million dollars per year to the province of B.C. Workers along with community members deserve 24/7 protection.
“It’s an election year – just putting that out there,” said SOS president, Solana Allison, “If we are going to see any differences, we need a change in policy.”
SOS is concerned that a Primary Care facility will not meet the needs of Princeton. Outside of the high risk work, Princeton is a community with many seniors. As the populace ages, the requirements for health care increase. People with children have the worry of no assurance to access should there be a medical emergency.
Emergency Room services are vital to the Princeton hospital. Limited access to medical care has an effect on the local population. It limits who lives here, who moves here and who works here.
With an election on the horizon, SOS encourages residents to speak to their party—to all parties. Ask those running the following questions and determine for yourself who will do the best job for rural B.C., for you and your healthcare.
Q. Do I have the right to decide where I live, or do you have the right to tell me where I can live?
Q. As a person living in rural B.C., am I not entitled to equal access in healthcare, like those living in the larger centres?
The policies for healthcare need to reflect the necessity and equality of medical services for all British Columbians—it’s time to make the change happen.