An open letter to Health Minister Terry Lake:
I suspect this letter will not see your eyes, as the reply to my earlier one came from several tiers below.
First, thank you for the standard reply to Kaslovians’ letters which responds to most issues raised.
As requested I will also copy my letter to the Patient Care Quality Office, although we all recognize that officer has no authority to make change, and is not the appropriate person to delegate this issue to.
I wish to comment on two aspects of your response.
1. “…it was mutually agreed that the residents of Kaslo will be best served by the provision of consistent, robust primary care, as opposed to 24/7 ED service.”
By now we all know this is erroneous. This was not mutually agreed upon. The question arises: Why was this statement made? I can only assume that the IHA had informed the Minister that this will be the conclusion of discussions. And this indicates that there are no in-faith discussions happening, that IHA has their agenda which they are marching toward regardless and spending a lot of resources doing so.
2. In meetings in the spring of 2012, (which included Dr. Ross, the expensive, knowledgeable consultant) IHA committed to a creative, robust, model of rural health care delivery which would be the model for other rural parts of BC and beyond.
Closing ED departments is not creative, or robust, or a new and exciting model. It is punitive and threatening.
Dr. Ross was contracted to and did provide, not only excellent mechanisms to meet that IHA commitment, but inexpensive ones. But IHA refuses to implement them. Again, why?
It is not to save money, perhaps to save face. Has IHA committed to you that Kaslo’s ED services will go the way of the dinosaur and is ploughing ahead to meet that commitment? Is the BC government happy to discard the people of Kaslo?
There are many dysfunctional aspects of the health authorities but they should be expected to meet health service delivery challenges not avoid and ignore them. They should be expected to implement best practices. It is not a best practice anywhere to reduce/eliminate emergency services in rural areas. And it is inappropriate to use an urban model of health care delivery in rural and remote areas.
I request answers to my points above.
I request you direct IHA to deliver 24/7 ED services to Kaslo and area residents. I’d like to see this provided in the most cost efficient, simplest manner. Please note that Kaslo residents have always stated that they do not expect a doctor to attend every situation where an RN or NP could deliver the necessary service (as is the case in Kaslo). Your ministry is in a position to make that happen.
Madeleine (Kate) O’Keefe