In collaboration with the BC Health Coalition, SOHC has crafted 6 questions about healthcare and distributed them to all four political candidates in the Fraser-Nicola riding. The candidates have two weeks to respond. We will publish their answers in our two local papers, our website and our facebook page. The BC Health Coalition will publish the questions on their website www.bchealthcoalition.ca and their member organizations are encouraged to use the questions in their own communities.
1. Over the past ten years, rural B.C. communities have experienced a gradual erosion of health services and reduced accessibility to timely health care. Acute doctor shortages, scheduled closures of emergency departments, increased waitlist times, cutbacks in community nursing services, and difﬁculties with transportation to specialized services in regional centres are indicative of a health care system unable to meet the needs of rural patients.
If you are elected to the legislature in the 2013 provincial elections, what will you and your party do to reverse this trend and improve accessibility for rural residents?
2. In February 2012, Kim Carter, Provincial Ombudsperson, released Public Report No. 47, The Best of Care: Getting It Right for Seniors in British Columbia (Part 2). In her report she presents 143 Findings and makes 176 Recommendations for improving care for seniors in our province.
What steps would you and your party take to implement the recommendations in this report?
3. Provincial health authorities seem to have lost the trust of the people they serve.
What action will you and your party take to reestablish that trust, making our health authorities more accountable and more responsive to the needs of rural communities?
4. The demand for rural doctors exceeds the supply. In competition with each other, rural communities have resorted to providing incentives such as subsidized housing, paid for by local governments, businesses, or private citizens. To be able to compete in the resulting “bidding war”, rural communities are now in a position where incentives are a requirement.
What is your party’s response to this situation?
5. Rural communities in British Columbia share similar health care concerns. However, individual health needs and the way in which they should be addressed vary from community to community.
As a candidate in the provincial election, what do you consider to be the most important health care issues in your constituency? And how would you address them?
6. On March 14th, the provincial government passed the Seniors Advocate Act. Although this is a positive step for senior citizens in British Columbia, the advocate position is not established as an independent office of the legislature and cannot be the effective critical watchdog that it needs to be.
If you are elected to the legislature would you support an independent seniors advocacy position with real authority to act on behalf of seniors?