How much longer will we have to wait?

B.C. Conservative spokesperson Keith Roy weighs in on health care.

Dear Editor;

I want to get back to work — I am tired of the pain

Last week Kamloops South Thompson Liberal MLA Kevin Krueger talked about surgical wait lists and the Interior Health Authority (IHA), on a local radio station (CHNL), and stated that Kamloops is far behind Kelowna in wait times.

“We would like to remind Mr. Krueger that those wait times are about real people”, stated BC Conservative party President Wayne McGrath, “real people who at times have heartrending personal stories because of the impact of this situation!”

“We know for example of a Kamloops area resident that has been off work since mid-November, waiting for specialized rib resection surgery at Kelowna General Hospital.  They have been waiting for over 5 months now, and there appears to be no end in sight.”

“Information from the Ministry of Health shows that, in the Vancouver Coastal Region, wait times for this surgery have increased to just under 24 weeks – at the Abbotsford Regional Hospital and Cancer Centre the wait time is under 14 weeks — meanwhile on Vancouver Island the wait time is now down to just two and a half weeks.”

In a move that was to reduce wait times, 4 hospitals in the province perform this specialized rib resection surgery.  BC interior residents are not seeing much of a reduction in the wait however, as it is now up to 25 and a half weeks (half a year). People on medical wait lists in the provinces interior are getting frustrated, anxious, and angry.

“Why are interior area residents waiting month after month to have this surgery performed at Kelowna General Hospital, when it can be done in under a month in Victoria?” McGrath stated.  “We’re not talking about minor cosmetic surgery, or setting a broken bone; this person has a rib blocking off the nerves and artery in their arm, and they have a partial blockage in their neck.”

“We have a question for Mr. Krueger – and for Health Minister Mike de Jong”, said BC Conservative Party Spokesperson, Keith Roy.  “How many more years do you plan to blame all of the provinces ill and woes, on the former NDP government which you replaced a decade ago? How much longer will we hear friends and family members saying I want to get back to work; I’m tired of the pain?”

Health Canada released information on the 10 Year Plan to strengthen health care in Canada on September 16, 2004. The report indicated that, ‘… a deep and broad consensus has emerged on a shared agenda for renewal of health care in Canada. This agenda is focused on ensuring that Canadians have access to the care they need, when they need it.’

It also indicated there was a ‘need to make timely access to quality care a reality for all Canadians. First Ministers remain committed to the dual objectives of better management of wait times and the measurable reduction of wait times where they are longer than medically acceptable.’

Roy concluded, “Access to primary health care is a right that all British Columbians should share equally, whether they live in Kamloops, Victoria, Vancouver, Prince George, or in any other community in the province.”



Keith Roy

BC Conservative Party Spokesperson