STONE – Horgan plays the blame game on resolving B.C. nurses shortage

MLA, Kamloops-South Thompson

WITH EACH PASSING DAY, pressure continues to build on front-line workers at Royal Inland Hospital as a shortage of health care workers impacts patient care.

It is a sad situation for all involved, whether it’s the doctors and nurses approaching complete burnout or patients and their families who are waiting too long to get care.

MLA Todd Stone.

The situation is no better for those trying to access primary care in Kamloops. Most walk-in clinics have closed, as have several general practitioners’ offices.

Making matters worse, the NDP’s much vaunted Urgent Primary Care Centre is not seeing a volume of patients to pick up this slack nor reduce the number of folks presenting at RIH’s emergency department.

Yet when it comes to relieving this unsustainable weight on everyone’s shoulders, John Horgan continues to do what John Horgan does best — play the blame game.

Responding to questions about the hospital crisis following his speech at the recent Union of B.C. Municipalities convention, Horgan first tried to lay blame on COVID-19.

We all know the pandemic has further stretched resources, but the truth of the matter is that they were already stretched long before COVID-19 came along. The 2019 B.C. Labour Market Outlook showed 33,100 nursing vacancies expected between 2019 and 2029.

Next, he tried to blame the former B.C. Liberal government for not encouraging enough people to enter careers in health care. This is another incorrect statement that both he and the health minister have tried to peddle.

Since the premier didn’t seem to have the facts and numbers handy during his remarks, I’ll provide them once again. The B.C. Liberals more than doubled the number of doctor and nurse training spaces after the NDP failed to make a single investment in them in the 1990s.

We doubled seats for first-year medical students from 128 to 288 and added more than 4,800 new nursing education spaces. We increased the number of entry-level residency positions for international medical graduates by over 800 per cent to 58 in 2016. If the premier is unsure about our many other contributions, here is a summary.

Our former government was also responsible for the redevelopment of RIH through the announcement of a $417-million patient care tower, with a government contribution of $225 million. What’s more, the premier can claim all he wants that it was his government that put nursing spaces at Thompson Rivers University but it was, again, an initiative of our former B.C. Liberal government.

What John Horgan needs to realize is that his government’s attempts to blame the B.C. Liberals and a variety of external factors for everything isn’t going to fly anymore. The NDP has been in power for four years and needs to take accountability for its failure to address our local health care crisis and other issues.

What my colleague Peter Milobar and I continue to demand is an action plan. We need a health human resources strategy that addresses the healthcare worker shortages that we’re seeing province-wide.

But sadly, just like our calls for a concrete economic plan to create jobs and build a strong post-pandemic future for our province, our appeals seem to be falling on deaf ears.

It’s John Horgan himself who has repeatedly professed that all good ideas, regardless of which side of the House they come from, would be listened to — but it’s John Horgan that refuses to put his ego aside, listen to those ideas, and act on them for the betterment of Kamloopsians and all British Columbians.

Tod Stone is the MLA for Kamloops-South Thompson.

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3 Comments on STONE – Horgan plays the blame game on resolving B.C. nurses shortage

  1. I have just spent a fruitless 3 hours trying to get through to the urgent primary care facility at RIH. After 53 tries I gave up. My son is a renal transplant patient without a family doctor. His renal doctors have prescribed him the same meds for years but all of a sudden they can’t prescribe his blood pressure, seizure, and sleeping meds. He needs these meds but an edict from above says they can’t renew his prescription because they are not renal drugs. So now what do we do.? It seems our medical system is so caught up in bureaucracy they have lost sight of who they are serving. I have watched a continual erosion of care since the “authority” was forced upon us. I have watched the morale of the staff at RIH decay over the past few years as they are told to just do their job, don’t go the extra mile. And I have seen the dramatic increase in administration. It would be interesting to see what the administration/patient ratio is? We need more doctors and nurses, not more pencil pushers.

  2. Mr. Stone in response to your letter I provide the following. Now is not the time to start to blaming. We need unity

    Be kind, be careful, be safe, wear a mask, keep your distance, get vaccinated.

  3. Sean McGuinness // September 24, 2021 at 10:53 AM // Reply

    I think it’s fair to say that the closure of clinics and the shortage of family doctors is product of a system which makes it financially difficult for doctors to operate an office. But this is the system that was overseen by the BC liberals for 16 years prior to the NDP and it is a problem which has been brewing for a long time. From this perspective, Horgan certainly has a point in his criticism of the former liberal gov’t. Of course, if people like Mr. Milobar and Mr. Stone are going to use the current health crisis for political gain, then they should expect some push-back from Mr. Horgan.

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