Change in tactics needed to find doctors

Writer feels pursuing the usual options to find doctors for Ashcroft won't work anymore.

Dear Editor

Ken Platz, whom I’ve known for a number of years and consider a good friend, is down there three times a week at MLA Jackie Tegart’s office, with a placard. People honk as they go by, expressing agreement with what he is doing – protesting our lack of medical doctors and the gradual dismantling of our once beautiful hospital. Ken is a quiet, very sensible man, not inclined to protest or writing letters to the editor (like yours truly). But he is down there, reminding us all of what we do not have.

I read in our Journal newspaper, that our MLA is doing everything she can to bring attention to our plight. Ken himself, appreciates the time and the effort that the Wellness and Health Action Coalition group are making to get us some doctors.

The point is, none of this is working.

As to the oft stated, ‘But there are no medical doctors available’, I wonder.

Why does the town of Lillooet (which is about the same size as Ashcroft) have five permanent medical doctors? Have a beautiful hospital with all the resources which Ashcroft once had?

Why does the village of Lytton, much smaller than Ashcroft have at least two rotating doctors (who come from Lillooet)?

Perhaps we are negotiating with the wrong people.  Perhaps we should be negotiating with the people who first settled this country.  Both the Ashcroft Band and the Bonaparte Band have functioning medical clinics.

Federal money may very well be involved. Both communities mentioned have large native Indian populations.

Ashcroft has the hospital, the lab, the medical offices. What we don’t have are the doctors to keep them running.

When I called the Ashcroft Medical Clinic for an appointment to renew my prescriptions this week, I was told that there was no one there to do so. I was advised to go to ER, which was open from 6 pm on Friday, until 8 am on Monday, and ask for a prescription renewal.

I find this bizaare. Everyone working so hard to get us what other nearby communities have. Calling in the Health Minister, negotiating with Interior Health, etc. doesn’t seem to be getting us anywhere.

Two doctors in seven months, may be available? Fresh out of medical school? That’s a pretty dim vision to contemplate when you need a prescription filled.

Esther Darlington MacDonald