Quality health care is a hot-button item when it comes to politics. British Columbia, like most Canadian provinces, has struggled to attract and keep qualified healthcare professionals and according to Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson, a former physician, it`s unacceptable and he`s calling on the Horgan government to do something immediately.
The Opposition leader told Q101 News that the situation is complex and action needs to be taken.
“We (Government) have to take the pressure off daytime office practices,`` Wilkinson said. ``I did this as a family doctor. We can do a lot more with nurse practitioners and nurses to make sure that the day-to-day load isn’t landing on the doctors.``
In the Interior Health Authority, the Ashcroft Emergency Department was once again closed this past weekend due to staffing shortages; the seventh closure of the department of 2019 and Wilkinson said that it's frustrating.
“Imagine, if you do break your leg and show up at Ashcroft Emergency only to be told it’s closed;`` he added.``Then you’re going ‘where am I supposed to go; that`s stressful.``
Wilkinson applauded Ashcroft for the efforts made to work through the situation but admitted it’s not a permanent solution. He added that the community traditionally attracts physicians that are new to Canada and required to stay for three years.
“Ashcroft is working hard. They’ve done a good job at the town level with their health committee to make sure they’re attracting doctors,`` Wilkinson noted.``The mayor says it `s an on-going project.``
Wilkinson added that keeping hospitals in communities such as Lillooet, Ashcroft, and Merritt is crucial.
“Keeping hospitals alive is very important, ``he said.``We know if you lose your high school or hospital it’s a slippery slope for any community.``