Dr. Denise McLeod presents to the province’s select standing committee on health (from the Prince George Citizen – Brent Braaten, Photographer)
The following is the content of the presentation given to the BC Select Standing Committee on Health by Edward Staples, SOHC President:
July 4, 2016 – 11:00 am
Douglas Fir Committee Room (Room 226), Parliament Buildings, Victoria
Thank you for holding these public hearings on health care in British Columbia. I am here today representing the Support Our Health Care Society of Princeton and the BC Health Coalition as a member of their Steering Committee.
My original interest in the work of this committee was in 2014, when I made a written submission as President of the Support Our Health Care Society of Princeton. Iâ€™m pleased to see that the Committee is looking for more information on three of the original questions and that the information gathered on end-of-life care has now been released in the report, Improving End-of-Life Care for British Columbians. Congratulations to the Committee for the work youâ€™ve done on that important issue.
How can we improve health and health care services in rural British Columbia? In particular, what long-term solutions can address the challenges of recruitment and retention of health care professionals in rural British Columbia?
Iâ€™ve been a resident of Princeton for eight years and have been actively involved in health care in our community for the past four. For this reason, I feel most comfortable addressing the first question regarding health care services in rural British Columbia.
Princeton, I believe, is typical of what it means to live in a rural, remote community in BC. Our population base is roughly 5,000 (on a good day); our demographic consists of an ever larger senior population; our economy is based on forestry, mining, ranching, and, increasingly, tourism; and our nearest regional service centre (Penticton) is about an hour and a half away. Four years ago our community was in a health care crisis with only one doctor providing on-call service, 24 hour emergency department services only available on weekends, an acute shortage of health care professionals, and residents who were up in arms. Since then, through a collaborative effort involving local organizations, elected officials, health care practitioners, and IH administrators, Princeton is now in a much better position with four full time GPs, two NPs sharing a full time job, and a full complement of professional staff.
But our situation is still not ideal. We are still short one general practitioner and many residents are unattached and looking for a family doctor elsewhere in our area. At present, there are no practitioners accepting patients in the Okanagan-Similkameen region and Continue reading