Ongoing B.C. Hospitals Crisis contributing to lack of public confidence in health care

Code orange at Surrey Memorial Hospital. Kelowna hospital sounds code purple dues to overcrowding. Man sustains injuries in hospital stay and it goes undiagnosed. Maternity patients transferred out of province, and out of country. Surgeries cancelled on a daily basis.

B.C.’s health care system has been slowly deteriorating for quite along time, and recent headlines  only serve to back that fact up. As more and more people move to our province, and to suburban areas, the lack of long-term planning for the increased population is starting to break the backs of local health care providers. We simply can’t wait for 5 years, or 10 years, or even 2, for much needed expansions and new facilities.

It is something that’s been on my mind for some time, especially with an unavoidable trip to the local hospital coming up in about 10 weeks. Speaking  recently with a consulting  physician in the hospital, left me feeling anything but confident. I asked how business was, and he told me that there were so many patients admitted in every maternity ward in BC,that they were unable to find a bed for a woman that has delivered a sick baby, and were going to have to transfer her out of province. And this isn’t a rare occurrence. There aren’t enough beds for the number of patients the hospital is required to serve. Its an ongoing case of musical beds.

Great. Now, I worry that there may not be a bed for me, or that I might have to be transferred far away if something doesn’t go as planned. I worry that there may not be enough staff on hand to properly accommodate the number of patients in the ward. I worry that in the haste to take care of so many patients something vital could be missed. And I worry about leaving in worse condition than when I entered.

Is it the nurses fault that the health care system doesn’t back them up by providing for extra staff when there is an increase in the number of patients?Can doctors be expected to perform at top level when working a 12/14/24 hours shift?

Would you  even want someone operating on you who has been up that long ? After all, you can only spread butter so thin before something gets missed. Injuries and death can be the result. How can any patient feel safe at a vulnerable time, knowing the resources are so often blatantly inadequate?

Health minister George Abbott’s line every time he’s questioned about all of this seems to be” Well, in all the time the NDP were in power they didn’t do anything!”  What the heck does that have to do with what the Liberals are, or aren’t doing? Expansions in two, three or five years doesn’t change whats happening now, today, in every single hospital in the province.

It doesn’t change the fact that thousands of people don’t even have a family doctor, and are forced to go from clinic to clinic only to be turned away because they’ve reached their daily allotment. Of course they are then forced to go the ER for treatment.  And it doesn’t change the fact the people are suffering needlessly while waiting for medical care. This is Canada, not Honduras. It shouldn’t be this way for such an apparently progressive country.

How, and why, does the government justify the continued astronomical Olympic expenditures when hospitals are turning away patients?

The money that’s going to the Vancouver Art Gallery could go much further to help reach proper staffing levels in health care. What is going to happen when an international visitor in 2010 gets hurt and is turned away from emergency because the hospital is full, or they are forced to wait on a gurney in the hallway or linen closet for more than 24 hours before they are even seen? Hows that going to look in the press? Big gala Olympics  with third world medical care if it continues the way it is.

I’m not anti- Olympics – far from it. However, I take issue when at the same time this money if being tossed around as if it were being printed daily just for Olympic usage, the same BC political leaders go begging to the feds for a handout for the forestry industry and cost over-runs. We cant manage the crisis in the forestry sector ourselves, so you need to give us some money- oh yes, buts let not call it a bailout.

Well, George Abbott, if your government can’t handle budgeting for the current health care crisis- and there definitely is one- why not go ask for an immediate bail-out from the feds for that? Admit your government hasn’t been able to get a handle on it, admit that people are suffering, and see where it gets you.

BC desperately needs an overhaul of the health care system , and we need it now- not in two years, not in 5 – NOW. The number of new homes in Surrey/Langley built every single month far outnumber the available resources in our local hospitals, and other regions are experiencing the same problem.

How many times must we hear about these disasters before  Gordon Campbells government listens…and how many people will suffer in the interim?