Letters to the Editor: December 7

We are on the right — healthcare for all citizens, especially seniors, is constantly improving

Commitment to health care

On December 3rd, I met for an hour with the new CEO of the Interior Health Authority, Chris Mazurkewich. Mr. Mazurkewich was in a senior role with the IHA when I was first elected 15 years ago. Back then, the East Kootenay had no regional hospital. We did not have full complements of specialists as we do today and so if you were very sick or very injured, you were at risk from an inadequate system. We did not have all our new specialists, our new Emergency ward, our new Diagnostics Centre or our new Ambulatory Care Centre. And of course we did not have the new ICU that is approaching completion.

In those days, Macleans Magazine did a front page story illustrating how bad rural health care was in Canada and the Cranbrook hospital was featured in the article, not in a nice way. Today in the East Kootenay, we have one of the best rural healthcare systems in the world.

In terms of family doctors, the Canadian Institute for Health Information’s recent physician report showed that in 2014, B.C. added 320 more physicians — for a total of 10,692.  More physicians are coming to rural B.C. — with a 6.6% increase in the number of rural family physicians in the province. B.C. has the best rate of population per full-time GP in the country, at 125 per 100,000.  We continue to work hard on this issue because there are still not enough family doctors.

We are training more new doctors. The NDP did not add a single new medical school space. There were 120 first-year medical training spaces in 1991 — and 120 in 2001 when I was first elected. Today we have 288. In 2014/15, there were 2,441 doctors practicing in rural areas in B.C. compared to 2,260 in 2010/11 — an increase of about 8%, compared to population growth of just 2.1%.

Back in 2001, we also did not have relatively new seniors care homes in all East Kootenay communities of 3,000 or more population, as we do today.Seniors benefit the most from an improved acute care system but home & community care is also critically important. In 2013/14, health authorities delivered 8.45 million hours of home support, 21% more than just 4 years earlier. But we need more to keep patients at home longer.

In comparison with the rest of Canada, BC leads in Canada with some of the best health outcomes in the world – with some of the lowest per capita spending. Rated #1 in Canada according to the OECD in June 2014. Only province to receive ‘A’ grade overall from Conference Board of Canada in May 2013.

This is not to suggest that the healthcare system is perfect. It is not and it never will be. But we are on the right track and with continued commitment to innovation and continued increased funding, healthcare for all citizens, especially seniors, is constantly improving. My personal goals are to get our own MRI at the EKRH, to ensure that we maintain surgery at the Fernie Hospital and to improve home & community care options across the region, especially for seniors.

Bill Bennett

MLA, Kootenay East

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

BC ELECTION
Kootenay East voters out in droves already

A third of Kootenay East voters have either already voted or requested mail-in ballots

Letters to the Editor
Letters to the Editor

Lake Koocanusa weir; Cranbrook RCMP report; Cranbrook Community Theatre; Can Greens and NDP get along?

The people known to be in this photo are (front row, left to right) Lily Watts with young Lily Watts, who was born in Cranbrook, on her knee; Agnes Watts (holding rifle); unknown lady with child; Ernest Charles Watts with William Watts on knee. The names of the four gentlemen in the back row are unknown.
Who are these Cranbrook homesteaders?

Can you help identity the people in this 1914 photograph?

Bats are pictured snuggled in a bat box. (J. Saremba file)
Next week is International Bat Week

Monitoring for white-nose syndrome in B.C. will continue this winter

Environment Canada has issued a snow warning for the Kootenays on Friday. File photo
Environment Canada issues snow warning for Friday

Two-to-10 centimetres is expected to fall

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry presents modelling of COVID-19 spread in B.C., March 25, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. sets another COVID-19 record with 203 new cases

up to 1,766 active cases in B.C., two more deaths

Jordan Naterer, an electrical engineer from Vancouver, was last seen Saturday Oct. 10. (Facebook photo)
Search efforts to resume for missing Manning Park hiker; Trudeau speaks on case

PM says he’ll do what he can to ‘nudge’ efforts to find Jordan Naterer, yet has little leverage locally

Smartphone showing various applications to social media services and Google. (Pixabay photo)
National media calling for level playing field with Google, Facebook

In Canada, Google and Facebook control 80 per cent of all online advertising revenues

École de L’Anse-au-sable. (Google Maps)
B.C. records first COVID-19 outbreak at school, six weeks after students return to class

Three cases of the virus have been identified at École de L’Anse-au-sable

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau is seen as she leaves media event during a campaign stop in West Vancouver, B.C., Tuesday, October 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. Green leader hopes voters see value in minority government

The Greens received nearly 17 per cent of the popular vote in 2017 yet received just three seats

Local candidates Pam Alexis, Abbotsford-Mission, and Preet Rai, Abbotsford-West, look on as NDP Leader John Horgan main streets in Abbotsford, B.C., Wednesday, October 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. NDP takes snap election risk during pandemic in quest for majority government

Green Leader Sonia Furstenau said the election was unnecessary and irresponsible during the pandemic

Most Read