NDP Taking Pulse of Access to Health Care
Prince George, B.C.- Provincial New Democrat Leader, John Horgan, along with MLA Judy Darcy, will be hosting a public meeting this evening in Prince George to hear if people’s health care needs are being met.
“The government’s been saying they’ve been delivering health care when it’s needed, where it’s needed, and that’s not the story we’re hearing in other parts of British Columbia” says Horgan. He says a recent tour through the Merritt, Logan Lake, Ashcroft, Cache Creek areas, and says the message they heard from those areas is that they are not getting the access to health care when and where they need it.
While he expects to hear from the public how they are receiving health care, he adds there are positive stories to be heard as well “My own personal story of coming through bladder cancer. I had the best treatment possible it was delivered effectively and in a way that saved my life I think that happens more often than not, but there are some tragedies out there and I think it’s a responsibility of not just the health authorities but Government to make sure those tragedies are diminished.”
The local Liberal MLA’s are not taking Horgan’s visit lightly, and have issued an invitation to him to tour the health care investments in Prince George.
“The NDP like to talk about health care but they never delivered for the north and Prince George when they had a chance,” says Prince George-Mackenzie MLA Mike Morris.
“As an MLA and cabinet minister, one of my proudest moments was seeing the Northern Medical Program become a reality,” says Prince George-Valemount MLA Shirley Bond. “This program allowed doctors, for the very first time to be trained here in the North at UNBC. The Northern Health Medical Program made a real and lasting impact on patient care in Prince George.”
The two local MLA’s cite a number of achievements, including the Northern Medical Program which has been expanded to accept 32 students a year, the University Hospital of Northern B.C. the newly completed Learning and Development Centre, the B.C. Cancer Centre for the North,
Health care remains the number one budget item for the Provincial Government and with an aging population, the numbers are expected to rise. Horgan says while there may not be more dollars available for Health care, it may be possible to change the way health care is delivered by using more Nurse Practitioners, especially in smaller communities. He says he plans to speak with practitioners and health authorities to find out what they need “It’s not just about dollars in and dollars out, but delivery of services and I think that speaks to how do you use nurse practitioners, how do you use LPNs and physiotherapists and a whole range of service providers in a way that can be cost effective through primary care, not acute care and that’s (acute care) where all the dollars get sucked up, in the hospital system.”
This evening’s session is set as an open public meeting at the Coast Inn of the North from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m