An ArmchairMayor editorial by Mel Rothenburger.
THE NEW DEMOCRATS are stepping up their press-release production and may eventually rival the incumbent government if they keep it up. The party has kicked into high gear, now churning out several a day.
Of those posted on Wednesday (April 5, 2017), one was particularly interesting, Headlined “Christy Clark’s legacy is clear: 16 years of neglect in health care,” it quoted NDP leader John Horgan as characterizing the Liberal record on health care as “hallway medicine, long waits for treatment and declining patient care.”
One of the backgrounder bullet points in the release said this:
“200,000 British Columbians still don’t have a family doctor. After Christy Clark promised that everyone would have a family doctor by 2015, she gave up trying and abandoned the idea. In Kamloops, one in three people don’t have a doctor.”
That’s worth examining. While the exact number of people in Kamloops without a family doctor isn’t known, one of the numbers commonly used is 30,000, so Horgan might not be far off in saying one in three are without.
Media stories about the B.C.-wide number are often vague, resorting to terms like “many” without specifics. But two years ago, Global News reported there were an estimated 350,000 British Columbians without a family doctor.
In January 2016, Green Party leader Andrew Weaver quoted Statistics Canada as estimating “over” 200,000 people in B.C. actively looking for a family doctor.
So, let’s go with the 200,000 number for a moment. And let’s use 30,000 as the number for Kamloops. That would mean that 15 per cent of the total number of people in the province who don’t have a GP live in Kamloops. That’s shocking.
Horgan didn’t use that percentage in his press release, but he did offer some other interesting claims. For example, he says 91 per cent of care homes aren’t meeting minimum standards for care, diagnostics like MRIs can take up to 30 months, and 60 per cent of patients in the Fraser Health region are waiting more than 10 hours to be admitted to hospital.
But back to the lack of doctors in Kamloops. When a single city of 90,000 has 15 per cent of the problem in a provincial population of more than 4.5 million, it deserves more than a couple of new clinics; it demands a full-blown investigation.