Letter: Health care crisis should be leading to uproar

Absolutely mind-blown. Medical care? How about re-term this concept to “medical crisis.”

Editor:

Absolutely mind-blown. Medical care? How about re-term this concept to “medical crisis.”

In Saskatchewan, people have a healthcare card just like they do here in B.C.

Unlike B.C., our family didn’t have to pay medical care premiums monthly in order to access basic health services in Saskatchewan. In B.C., we are required by law to have a B.C. Care Card, which costs our family of three roughly $230 per month.

Now, we re-located to B.C. to be closer to our families (I was born and raised in Quesnel, my husband, Kelowna. We’ve been living in Saskatchewan for the past four years) and this is just one of those things that we have to “bite the bullet” on.

However, we’re running into a bit of a problem:

I’ve called every clinic in Williams Lake, and absolutely no doctors are taking new patients. Oh, pardon me, one doctor will, but only if you are a pregnant woman.

There are no (0, zero, nada, zip) walk-in clinics in Williams Lake.

Every clinic advised me that there is a nurse practitioner at the Thompson Rivers University (TRU) satellite campus health centre that can perform basic health-related tasks, such as renew prescriptions and treat minor injuries. But, guess what? The nurse practitioner isn’t taking patients either. A staff member at the clinic actually told me that:

There are more than 5,000 people in the community without a doctor.

There are two walk-in clinics in 100 Mile House (92.3 kms away) where we might get to see a doctor.

Quesnel (118.7 kms away) has a walk-in, too. There are no doctors accepting new patients in those communities either.

Our only in-town option is to attend the local hospital’s emergency room, and wait to see a doctor.

Locals that I have met:

– A man moved here from Saskatchewan almost four years ago, and he still doesn’t have a doctor.

– A woman has lived here for five years, has complex health issues and needs, and doesn’t have a doctor.

– A woman has been here for nine years, and only got a doctor when she became pregnant.

Can you imagine the burden this must place on the local emergency room? ERs are for emergencies!

People are always dissuaded from using the ER for mundane, daily, non-urgent medical needs. But, what choice is there? I haven’t had to go to the ER yet, but I imagine it’s only a matter of time. I’m wondering what the wait time is for filling a simple prescription?  I imagine it isn’t pretty. I imagine this crisis is likely leading to a seriously over-burdened ER with over-worked, stressed out medical professionals. How is the local ER handling the congestion?

How is congestion impacting the quality of care patients receive?

Further research I’ve conducted suggests that this medical service crisis impacts communities from Prince George to Kamloops.

How is this issue not leading to a local uproar? How many individuals are without a doctor for basic medical needs? How is co-ordination of quality and consistent medical care ensured within this broken system?

What are we paying monthly healthcare premiums for?

Amber Buxton

Williams Lake

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