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Posted: August 4, 2022

BC NDP financially regionalizing health care in B.C.

Letter to the Editor

The BC NDP government has given up on improving health care in the East Kootenay.

This is blatantly obvious by the number of funding commitments the Health Minister has announced this year for every other area of the province. This list includes funding for new operating rooms, additional staff supports, expanded long-term care beds, emergency department expansions, new primary care centres and new community health centres.

But not even one of these projects is in the East Kootenay. Meanwhile the ongoing shortage of healthcare workers, nurses and physicians continues to create backlogs in every area of our healthcare system, including the now almost year- long closure of the Emergency Department in Elkford.

Yes, any investment in improving health care anywhere in B.C. is welcomed and appreciated. However, this does not offer any solutions to the folks in my riding of Kootenay East who, thanks to bureaucracy, are cut-off from healthcare services in Alberta and face potentially dangerous travel to receive care elsewhere in B.C.

It is literally a slap in the face to every constituent who is falling through the cracks because they don’t have a family physician or must travel to Kelowna for cancer treatment in the height of winter on their own dime, or who sits in the emergency room for hours with a non-emergent problem because the Cranbrook UPCC is closed on weekends.

We last heard in March that this UPCC had 19 out of 28 planned staff. We’ve asked the Health Minister for more current numbers, but he won’t provide them despite promising multiple times to do so.

The BC NDP are financially regionalizing health care everywhere else in B.C., which in turn, will result in more cutbacks to our local health care services and further impact our access. Why not take the time to look at what would help the entire province?

My office receives calls daily from folks unable to access health care because we don’t have enough physicians, workers, nurses and resources.

The Premier himself has stated that our health care is crumbling, but his government is failing to solve what is now dubbed a primary care crisis. He is throwing money on a fire in the hopes it will go out, but all the money in the world won’t help.

Our health care system is operating based on a business plan that is out of date and needs to be completely overhauled provincially. We need to do better.

Tom Shypitka,

MLA Kootenay East

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