Editor, The Times:
I read Dr. Dennis Karpiak’s letter of July 14 (‘Bloated bureaucracy killing Canadian health care’) with a sense of appreciation that, finally, someone in our health system is speaking out about issues that affect us all.
How sad that it should be our B.C. government “putting people first” (wasn’t that the phrase Premier Christy campaigned on last election?) yet the reality is the health care standard has steadily plummeted in the past 20 years.
Sure, Health Minister Terry Lake says walk-in clinics are the new norm and everyone gets quality care, that family physicians are no longer the norm.
No, no, no. That is not good enough.
Quality health care begins with the continuity of care only available through a family physician, a doctor who knows the patient, the patient history and who guides the diagnoses.
That is the most efficient delivery of health care, so we need to empower our family doctors.
I have been without a family doctor for nearly a year. What I have discovered in the past 12 months is disturbing.
I cannot even call to make an appointment at a walk-in clinic. I must stand in line, in the inclement weather, for up to an hour before the clinic opens to even have a chance of seeing a physician that day.
Or I head to the ER at Royal Inland Hospital and get in queue.
I am absolutely certain neither Clark nor Lake have such obstacles to their medical care.
How many non-emergencies are being treated at our ERs each and every day due to a doctor shortage?
At what cost?
I am sure each visit to the ER is considerably more costly to our medical system than a trip to our doctor’s office.
As chaotic and challenging as our medical system is, I am afraid the vulnerable and elderly will find the stress of walk-in medical care too overwhelming.
Clinics need to adapt to accommodate a telephone appointment system.
Not everyone can traipse to a walk-in clinic at 7 a.m. to get on the list to return later that day for an “appointment.”
Who hasn’t experienced the long delays in getting in to see a specialist once the patient has been lucky enough to get referred?
A year’s wait is nothing these days.
And then the wait begins again for hospital time, etc., etc.
It is not good enough and it is long past time we all speak up about what we want from our health-care system.
I agree with Karpiak — cut the bureaucracy to a minimum and put the money into patient care.