Monday night on CTV News from Vancouver, they had a story about the ER in Princeton being closed for the day. So, where was the nearest hospital?
One hour away in Penticton.
My thoughts were, and still are, that this is completely wrong — the Interior Health Authority hanging a sign that says “Sorry Were Closed” is a totally unacceptable contingency plan. In my opinion, the government’s grand scheme to centralize hospital administration, often time’s hours from a community, has proven to be a disastrous plan.
Oh sure it’s worked well for the larger centers where more and more of the medical care is ending up. What about smaller rural communities however; many of which are where logging, mining, construction and other more dangerous type jobs are done. For them, prompt medical attention in the case of an accident may be critical.
So … what is the answer? I know I don’t have it. What I do know however is that many people in communities like Princeton, Logan Lake, Chase, Lillooet and a multitude of smaller rural communities all over the province are saying the health system in BC is not working … and that it is not providing them with the medical care they should be receiving.
Meantime, the BC Conservatives are calling for public accountability and transparency in the delivery of health care services. They want members of Health Authority Boards to be democratically elected in a manner adequately reflecting the population distribution and health care needs within the geographic boundaries of each Authority. They are also saying Health Authority Boards should be committed to the development of tertiary care facilities that reflect a geographic distribution … AND … and one that results in ready access to high level medical services throughout each of the Health Authorities.
I am not sure that will solve the problem, but it is a step, and it’s one that I think recognizes a real need.
Alan Forseth, Regional Director
BC Conservative Party