Healthcare concerns prompt NDP visit to local communities

Opposition Leader John Horgan and NDP Health Spokesperson MLA Judy Darcy met with residents to talk about lack of healthcare.

Provincial NDP Leader John Horgan and MLA Judy Darcy, the NDP Health Spokesperson, were in the area last week, listening to feedback about local healthcare issues and concerns. The visit came at the request of the Logan Lake Mayor and Council, and Horgan and Darcy visited Kamloops, Merritt, Logan Lake, Ashcroft, and Cache Creek during their trip.

Darcy said the intention was to meet with healthcare providers, local councils, and residents. “We wanted to hear firsthand what’s happening in healthcare,” she said, “the challenges and problems.” In addition to meeting separately with Ashcroft and Cache Creek councils, the pair sat down with nine members of the Wellness and Health Action Coalition (WHAC) to hear about the challenges the group faces.

Joyce Beddow pointed out the large number of area residents who once had a family doctor here and no longer do. Others have resorted to finding doctors in other communities such as Lillooet and Merritt, “which are at least an hour’s drive away in good weather.”

David Durksen said that while approaches have been made to several doctors, the crisis won’t be over until at least February 2016, when the Ashcroft clinic hopes to get two doctors under the province’s new Practice Ready Assessment program. Doctor burnout remains a problem, and Durksen said that one of WHAC’s goals is to create a sustainable healthcare model that will reduce the burden on doctors coming into the community. More highly trained ambulance attendants, the Nurse First Call program, and nurse practitioners would help, all of which Horgan indicated fit with his “team based” approach to healthcare.

Phyllis Rainey, a retired RN, spoke about the deterioration of services at the hospital, confusion as to when the Emergency Department is open, and the increasing number of people resorting to getting emergency refills of prescriptions because they can’t see a doctor. The heavy smoke throughout the region last week would, in the past, have seen people with breathing issues come to the hospital for oxygen, said Rainey. “They’re managing to get puffers and inhalers from the pharmacy, but it’s not the same.”

“Something bad will have to happen before people realize how bad the situation is,” said Beddow, while Lois Petty added that “We have to fight to keep what we need.” One member recounted that he tried to make an appointment with a locum, as he has no family doctor, and was told that locums can’t see people who have no family doctor as “they already have full patient lists.” “What’s the point of having them here?” he asked.

Fran White pointed out that Clinton has just lost its one doctor, and was told by Interior Health that “Clinton doesn’t count for a doctor, and IH will not will not be working to replace him.” The difficulty many people have accessing healthcare in distant centres was mentioned, with White noting that “It’s hard to get to a doctor when you don’t have transportation.”

Horgan said that having talked to people in the area and heard their stories, he believes that Interior Health’s “passion” for regionalization is hurting small communities. “They’re convinced it’s for the best, and is critical to providing cost effective services,” but at a very real cost to smaller centres that have seen their healthcare options slowly chipped away at over the past two decades.

Barbara Roden

Just Posted

Ashcroft hospital emergency closed sign, 2016. Photo credit: Barbara Roden
Ashcroft Hospital emergency department closed this weekend

Closure due to unexpected limited physician availabiliy, says Interior Health

Residents line up outside the Vernon Recreation Complex for their COVID-19 vaccine Saturday, June 5. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
No appointments necessary for first dose COVID-19 vaccine: Interior Health

People can just show up at clinics, register on the spot and get the shot

Heidi Roy of the Cariboo Jade Shop in Cache Creek with the 3,000 jade boulder, which is now on secure display inside the shop. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)
Massive jade boulder returns to Cache Creek store six months after daring heist

The 3,000-pound boulder was stolen on Dec. 19, 2020 and found abandoned in the bush a week later

Dr. Albert de Villiers, chief medical health officer for the Interior Health Authority. (Contributed)
Child sex crimes charges against Interior’s top doc won’t impact pandemic response: Dix

Dr. Albert de Villiers is charged with sexual assault and sexual interference

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

The Queen Victoria statue at the B.C. legislature was splattered with what looks like red paint on Friday. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)
Queen Victoria statue at B.C. legislature vandalized Friday

Statue splattered with red paint by old growth forest proponents

Most Read