Rural health care ignored

Author questions whether rural health care is really on the Liberal radar.

Dear Editor

What about us?!

If you look at the BC Liberal’s platform on health care, it is pretty apparent rural BC is not a priority. In fact, rural BC is not even mentioned in the health care platform, for the Liberals are quick to tout the shortest wait times in key areas – like Abbotsford, Victoria, Kelowna, Surrey and Vancouver. They have even pledged an additional $8 billion over three years to expand their facilities.

Where is the commitment to towns like Ashcroft, Cache Creek, Princeton, Merritt, Lillooet and Lytton? Incentive programs like the one announced by the BC Medical Association and BC Government to give $100,000 bonus cheques to doctors living in rural communities for three year terms does nothing for Ashcroft because it isn’t one of the Liberal’s “key” rural communities. The only hospital in our region who can take advantage of the offer is Princeton.

Communities like Ashcroft are constantly in crisis due to an insufficient number of doctors, and at some point, it becomes clear that a very small number of doctors cannot sustain the services required to keep people in our community alive and well.

We need more than just doctors. We need increased ambulance services and nurse practitioners 24/7. It is time for rural BC to say that – “it’s time for a change.”

Ken Martin