Optimistic that health care is on the way

Writer says she appreciates all the work, but bussing seniors to doctors in Lillooet isn't much of a solution.

Dear Editor

With all due respect to those who are working hard with protocol and negotiation to bring doctors to Ashcroft, it seems that some progress has been made.

The Oct. 8 issue of The Journal, under the head, Lillooet Helps Patients, was read carefully by myself.  There is no doubt in my mind that ‘due diligence’ has brought some light at the end of the tunnel.

But the idea of bussing people from Ashcroft to Lillooet, if indeed transportation can be arranged, can’t be seen as any more than a bandaid solution. And not a very good one.

According to the article, patient files will remain in Ashcroft (we should hope so!) and newly trained doctors in Lillooet Hospital will service patients, at least until the two doctors mentioned in the article will be able to come in February.

Ron Hood of Wellness Coalition, a group that has been negotiating with IH, is quite right when he says we should have been making a noise and expressing outrage at being regarded as some kind of rural by-pass that didn’t require what other communities around us have been enjoying for years – ergo Lillooet, Merritt, 100 Mile House, Lytton, and so on. That has meant distress, anxiety, and the  migration of dozens of persons to those communities for medical advice and treatment. Worse, it has meant that people are either in the process of moving out of Ashcroft, or planning to do so, because of the current situation.

I was pleased also to read that Hood has endorsed ‘public confrontation’ about the crisis. No more calls to the RCMP then, from our MLA, who saw Ken Platz’s posters as a threat?

Everyone has a right to protest, as long as it is peaceful and non-violent. MLA Tegart should have known this. And when CBC radio came to town and interviewed a number of persons, including herself, she should have stepped out of her office and greeted them with assurance, and informed them verbally and personally what was being done. Jackie, you have always been social and personable, and even delightful on occasions. The information conveyed this way would have mitigated concerns a lot, I think. The small group that had gathered peacefully, albeit, a little noisily were long time residents who probably voted for you. You missed the boat on that one. Let’s hope you will learn something about meeting your constituents personally in situations like this, like so many other MLAs have done. Besides, it would have made a great photo op.

The bussing idea has not taken into account the people who would be involved. It ‘s a long trip over a circuitous road, with a few heart stopping blind corners on steep hillsides. I can’t imagine what it would be like for seniors in the bus when winter conditions arrive.

We are wrapped up too much in the process of solving the problem, when we should be considering People first. And how clumsy it seems, to have doctors in Lillooet viewing patient files on a computer, with their only one-to-one experience with that person is the one who has just arrived. No, it just isn’t a people solution.

But I’m optimistic. The quagmire we are currently facing will surely, with due diligence and, as Mr. Hood as stated, with renewed protest that brings attention to the authorities of the urgency of our needs,  finally be resolved.

Esther Darlington MacDonald

Ashcroft