KAMLOOPS — Local NDP candidates in May’s provincial election held a forum at the IBEW hall in Brock yesterday, in order to speak with voters about their concerns with the province’s health care system.
New Westminster MLA Judy Darcy, who is the Opposition Health Critic in the BC Legislature, was at the meeting to listen and speak with Kamloops residents.
“I’ve come to Kamloops to hear from people about their stories about health care,” Darcy explained. “I’ve heard from so many people… that people in Kamloops are just waiting too long for health care.”
Around 15 people attended the event, voicing their concerns about various aspects of the province’s health care infrastructure.
One of the overriding themes of the day was the lack of family doctors in the city, a fact which is not lost on Darcy. Those who attended the meeting also brought up issues with wait times for surgery and MRI appointments. There were also several health care professionals in attendance who wanted know more about the NDP’s plan to improve patient care throughout the province. Darcy says improved cooperation between service providers is one way to make a positive change.
“We can have much better team-based care access for people who don’t have a family doctor,” Darcy said. “A community health care centre, where you can have access to a doctor, or a nurse practitioner, or a dietician, or a nutritionist, so you see the health care provider you need... when you need them.”
Health Minister Terry Lake says the fact doctors don't work the same number of hours as they used to made the goal, set back in 2011, difficult to achieve.
"I don't think the goal at the time recognised the challenge with the way physicians practice today," said Lake. "Other governments, namely the NDP government in Manitoba at the time, made the same kind of commitment and were unable to do so. "
Lake says along with the new North Shore Health and Science Centre, several locum doctors and at least five overseas physicians are expected to begin working in the city in the coming months in an effort to resolve the ongoing doctor shortage crisis.
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