A FANCY BIRD FEEDER holds a sunflower treat for the local wildlife.

Hacking the old health care system

A long trail of bad decisions in BC health care takes time and care to correct.

Anyone with a lengthy history of working on computers knows that, despite their alleged bigger calculating brain, they get just as confused as their human counterparts over time.

One mistake leads to another and eventually you have a system that starts shutting out other programs, locking up and holding all of your desperately important files for ransom.

At least, that’s how I envision that works. Some people would tell you that’s far too much personality for a computer.

You see this also in human planning. Could be as simple as deciding to major in English instead of Science; and then taking a job writing press releases for some big box all-you-can-buy store rather than that job offer from the Globe and Mail. And a future that could have been better is perhaps not as good because of choices made along the line. If you’d gone into Science instead, it all would have been different.

Canada’s medicare system, and especially British Columbia’s, has been making a lot of mistakes over the years.

BC created the Health Authorities in the early 1990s, under Premier Mike Harcourt’s NDP government. There was much concern in my small town that health care was being centralized in the city that was 90 minutes away and that the local advisory board was being disbanded and there would be no more input from the rural areas.

As a journalist, what I saw was that instead of calling my MLA or the Health ministry for information or comments, I was told to call an office that may or may not take my call. They didn’t have the political motivation to get things done nor the political accountability to keep the public happy. Instead, media and public were held at arm’s length, adding in a few more feet for good measure.

Ashcroft is pushing the Ministry and the health authorities to rewrite rural health care after 20 years of moving further and further away from patients and their families.

The time is right for change, and Ashcroft is one of the leaders. Change is coming for those who can be patient.

Wendy Coomber is editor of the Ashcroft-Cache Creek Journal

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