MILOBAR – Throwing money at healthcare doesn’t always bring results
By PETER MILOBAR
MLA, Kamloops-North Thompson
DESPITE A NUMBER of NDP announcements around health care, the crisis in our system doesn’t seem to be easing. In fact, things are getting worse on a number of fronts.
If you’re an expectant parent, you’re likely feeling a lot of stress right now as accessing maternity services becomes more difficult.
The Thompson Region Family Obstetrics clinic, which delivers 50 per cent of the babies born each month in Kamloops, has announced a permanent closure after raising concerns for nearly a year.
These impacts will be felt deeply by local families and those in rural communities as well, because demand for the clinic has increased as smaller regional operators have also lost doctors.
Communities like Barriere, Merritt, Lillooet and 100 Mile House relied on the services of this clinic, so there is much uncertainty for them right now.
The news of that facility’s closure comes less than a month after another clinic, Sage Hills Community Midwives in Kamloops, announced its closure.
While I do acknowledge the government’s recent announcement of an expansion of midwifery training seats at the University of British Columbia, it remains unclear whether this will be enough to meet the demand for services across our province.
Meanwhile, nearby Merritt is coping with repeat ER closures that require patients to travel to Kamloops for care. Merritt has seen seven ER closures since the start of 2023 — just as many as it faced in the entirely of 2022.
This is completely unacceptable, particularly as winter driving conditions make a trip to Kamloops incredibly stressful at times. Directing more patients to Kamloops also puts an additional strain on healthcare workers at Royal Inland Hospital, who are exhausted and burned out as it is.
Premier David Eby and the NDP cannot continue to throw money at problems without focusing on the actual results.
Without a proper plan, and without any timelines or metrics to track progress, we’re destined to see the status quo continue instead of the real change needed to improve outcomes for patients.
Right now in British Columbia, one in five people still don’t have a family doctor — and in Kamloops, it’s more than 53,000 people without one. Hospitals are overwhelmed and we continue to see far too many ER closures and reductions in services.
People are losing their lives because of ambulance delays. We have the worst walk-in clinic wait times in the country, our Urgent and Primary Care Centres are understaffed, and the number of healthcare job vacancies continues to climb.
There are unacceptably long delays for medical imaging and to see a specialist, and cancer care wait times among the worst in Canada.
Speaking of cancer care, the NDP’s recent budget was another disappointment as there were no dollars committed to a new Kamloops Cancer Centre in the three-year fiscal window.
This facility was promised by the NDP in the 2020 election, and they said it would be completed and operational in 2024. We all know that’s not happening, and it is local patients and their families who will suffer.
British Columbians in all corners of the province are struggling to access medical care in a timely manner. In some cases, this is leading to patients developing more serious health challenges or even losing their lives.
We need to see more listening, more leadership, and more action taken by Premier David Eby and the NDP — with measurable outcomes — to ensure a healthcare system that works for everyone.
Peter Milobar was elected MLA for Kamloops-North Thompson in May 2017, and re-elected in October 2020. He is the Official Opposition Critic for Finance. He previously served as critic for Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, critic for Environment and Climate Change Strategy, and the Official Opposition House Leader.
Sure, and the libs, or whatever you are calling yourselves have done so much better
Fancy cars, fancy houses, fancy vacations and time off. The salaries of healthcare can permit all of that. By not asking even the most controversial questions we will not improve health care.