LETTER: Kaslo needs 24/7 medical service

From reader James Morris

What do you (the people of Kaslo and area) want? Is it a hospital with a functioning 24/7 Emergency Room or a Primary Health Care Centre?

A hospital would have an acute bed as well as nurses on duty throughout the full 24 hour day. The doctor(s) would be on call to provide the 24/7 emergency care. This provides certainty for all the people in the area.

The Primary Health Care Center (PHCC) has only a clinic for seven days per week and with an Emergency Room 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. five days per week. This puts the onus on the first responders and ambulance attendants to do what they can within their regulations.

It has been said many times that the doctors of today are choosing lifestyle when considering their employment options. The people looking for emergency medical care could be forgiven for valuing their life over a doctor’s lifestyle choice. The overpaid, part-time doctors of the PHCC should open their eyes and ears when a large group of people are saying what they want. The Interior Health Authority (IHA) is currently stonewalling our society and its members since our questions regarding ER are not being answered. They have said that they will only deal with elected officials.

Those same elected officials have capitulated on this issue to the IHA. The IHA should run hospitals and not clinics. They are taking monies for rural emergency care and topping up the salary of PHCC doctors without requiring them to provide 24/7 emergency care.

This sweet deal is cheating the local population of any chance of re-instituting 24/7 emergency care. We have experienced the PHCC model long enough to see it in its fullness. It is at best a half-measure and its efficiency (services rendered for tax money spent) is sub-par. We want an independent clinic that operates the same as other clinics in BC. This is the model that would be best for us. The IHA should assist us in this effort as it is really the right thing for all concerned.

James T. Morris

Kaslo and Area Medical Care Society