Lack of rural health care a crisis for B.C. families

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judy_horgan_health_tour1_webversionKAMLOOPS – The lack of rural health care is a crisis for many B.C. families, say New Democrat leader John Horgan and spokesperson on health Judy Darcy.

“People tell us that a family doctor is out of reach, and they can’t even count on getting emergency services in their community,” said John Horgan.

Horgan and health spokesperson Judy Darcy have been touring the Thompson area of the Interior, meeting with health care providers, patients and families. They said patients in Ashcroft, Logan Lake, Cache Creek and Kamloops all reported that it is nearly impossible to get a family doctor. Lack of access to primary care affects all further access to health care, from referrals to testing, diagnosis, specialist care, surgery and follow-up care.

“By definition, you don’t plan a health care emergency. People tell us about driving long distances to one ER only to find it closed, meaning they have to get back on the highway,” said Darcy. “Our vital health care system has been neglected and families are suffering.”

Kelly Stalker, a mom of two in the Kamloops area, has been unable to get basic primary health care for her family. “I feel like I’ve let my kids down. We moved here a few years ago from Ontario, where we could go to a team-care clinic with excellent care. In B.C., we have been trying for years now to get a family doctor. My kids haven’t had a checkup since they moved to British Columbia. I am supposed to have abnormal test results checked annually but I can’t get this done without a family doctor. It’s very upsetting,” said Stalker.

“The Liberals promised a GP for everyone in B.C. Clearly that’s not working,” said Horgan.

Horgan and Darcy will continue to travel to B.C. communities hearing from families about the challenges they face accessing vital health care services.