Health care access no longer universal in Kootenays says MLA
BC Liberal MLA for Kootenay East Tom Shypitka is wondering why Premier John Horgan has failed to help patients in southeastern B.C. access the health care they have historically been able to receive in nearby Alberta, leaving them to suffer needlessly and in some cases, risk further health challenges and cancellations.
“Patients who live along the provincial border in communities like Cranbrook, Fernie, Elkford and Sparwood would normally use health care facilities three hours away in Calgary, but under John Horgan and the NDP that practice has been stopped,” said Shypitka. “Now patients and their families are being forced to access services in Vancouver, which takes 12 hours or more of risky driving over six mountain passes in dark winter conditions.”
After more than two years of trying to draw the NDP government’s attention to the desperate situation facing patients all along B.C.’s eastern border, Shypitka stood up during yesterday’s Question Period to ask the Premier what he has done to ensure families can get the safe, urgent and timely care they are used to receiving in Alberta.
“Premier Horgan must step up to the plate and restore the medical services that residents would normally be able to obtain,” Shypitka said. “Individuals and families already coping with serious health conditions should not face the added safety, cost and stress of a lengthy trip to Vancouver to get care.
“In contradiction to what the B.C. Minister of Health Adrian Dix states as a mere capacity problem, it is my contention that this is a billing issue that can be sorted out between the two provinces as other jurisdictions in Canada have done with memorandums of understanding,” he said.