News from BC FORUM
Newsletter from Judy Darcy, MLA,
Opposition Spokesperson for Health
This is my last health newsletter before the end of this parliament and I wanted to say thank you to everyone who has written or phoned me, or who I have met over the past four years. It’s been an honour serving as the official opposition spokesperson on health, and I couldn’t have done it without your assistance.
Over the past four years, my New Democrat colleagues and I have been holding the Christy Clark government to account for their failures on health, while advocating for solutions to make things better for B.C. patients.
Under Christy Clark, British Columbians are waiting too long for quality public health care.
And as data released last week by the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) shows, the record of the Clark government actually got worse in the past four years.
According to CIHI, wait times under the Clark government for hip replacements, knee replacements and cataract surgeries are among the worst in Canada.
Only two thirds of cataract surgeries are performed within the benchmark of 112 days. For hip replacements, the benchmark is six months, and only 61 per cent are performed within that time frame. For knee replacements, it’s even worse; only 47 per cent are done with six months. All of those key indicators are substantially worse than in 2012.
Unfortunately, that’s only one aspect of the unacceptable waits B.C. patients face under Christy Clark’s government.
Last month, the legislature wrapped up its spring session, the last session of this parliament. Under our Leader, John Horgan, New Democrats raised many issues highlighting the government’s failure to provide adequate and timely health care to B.C. patients.
We raised the story of Fran Nesbitt, an 86-year-old Surrey resident who spent four days in an emergency room with a broken pelvis. (Link: https://youtu.be/W9nWA9m8YQk)
We asked about Jean Donaldson, who was left on a gurney in a hospital hallway after suffering a brain bleed. Instead of receiving the immediate treatment she deserved, she spent 36 hours in a hallway; the sad irony was she was lying under a plaque honouring Jean for her efforts in supporting the hospital. (Link: https://youtu.be/JKyw9DPHMEU)
We asked about Lee Horn from Osoyoos, who spent 900 days waiting in excruciating pain for his surgery, a wait that was compounded by waits for diagnostics. (Link: https://youtu.be/3Qs60qihVlw)
We asked why nine out of 10 residential care facilities in B.C. are not funded well enough to ensure they meet the minimum staffing requirements so that our frail elderly get the dignified care that they deserve. (Link: https://youtu.be/voZS8y4dhXQ)
And we asked about patients who are waiting for as much as 30 months for an MRI – and who have received memos saying “please check the year of your appointment” – because people were showing up a year early for their MRI. (Link https://youtu.be/5qrp_ZeFYcw)
British Columbians deserve better. They deserve better than a government that makes empty promises about providing everyone with a family doctor – and then breaks that promise. They deserve better than a government that unconscionably allows seniors care to worsen, only to make a last-minute pre-election promise to fix it.
When the B.C. Liberals were first elected in 2001, they promised health care where you are and when you need it. Patients waiting for hours at walk-in clinics, or waiting for MRIs, or waiting in debilitating pain for years for surgery – they know that the B.C. Liberals broke that promise.
Thanks in part to discussions with people like you, we have been advocating for real positive solutions to improve public health care.
We are strong supporters of innovation within the public system to reduce surgical waitlists. A pilot project at Richmond Hospital which reduced surgical waits by 75 per cent was eliminated by the B.C. Liberal government.
We have been advocating for the rapid expansion of multi-disciplinary health teams to deliver effective primary care that focuses on prevention, and reduces the waits for patients to get immediate health needs addressed.
We have long called for an expansion of home support to allow seniors to live independently and in their own homes longer. And we believe strongly in expanding hours of care for frail seniors, so our parents, grandparents and loved ones get the kind of care they deserve at a time when they are at their most vulnerable.
Thank you again for all your help over the past four years. I look forward to more fruitful conversations with all of you as we work together to build a health care system that meets the needs of all British Columbians.
Judy Darcy, MLA (New Westminster)
Opposition Spokesperson for Health