COLUMN: Bandage solutions leaves Sooke region bleeding

If anyone thinks universal health care exists in this country, they best give their head a shake.

If anyone thinks universal health care exists in this country, they best give their head a shake.

The province and feds try to bandage the problem in Sooke proper, and let it hemorrhage anywhere west of here.

Let’s put the doctor issue aside here for a moment and look at basic medical services.

The last two mayors have worked at improving medical services only to be shut down at every turn. Same goes for MLA John Horgan.

It seems the province doesn’t think Sooke is remote enough to get a proper X-ray facility because of its close proximity (25 kilometres) to Victoria General Hospital and St. Anthony’s Treatment Centre.

The community is stuck with an out-dated, privately run X-ray facility that only operates two days a week for two hours a day.

Need another example? There’s no pre-natal care available in Sooke. Women that may have a vulnerable pregnancy are told to go to Victoria.

The problem with that scenario is some women wait seven or eight months to make a visit because of the difficult or getting from here to there.

“It’s a very complicated issue,” Mayor Maja Tait told district council recently.

Yes, it is.

But as the government fiddles, peoples lives are at stake.

B.C.’s health spending  per capita is much lower than in most other provinces once demographics are factored in says the Conference Board of Canada.

The B.C. government likes to tell you it will increase health-care funding by $3 billion over the next three years, but still fails to offer basic services.

Governments have lost their way. They believe that health services are about building monuments to themselves, yet they fail to remember that health-care is about people.

The way the system can change is simple timely access to doctors and other health-care professionals and services.

Patients don’t experience their health care as discrete parts, so it shouldn’t function that way.

Twenty-five kilometres isn’t that far, but Sooke is remote from the rest of the region and more services are needed here, not just for those living in Sooke, but those living in Port Renfrew and beyond.

But shuffling the problem aside and pretending one doesn’t exist in any way is a slap in the face to all who live here.

If people can’t access health services in a timely and equitable manner, then there is something terribly wrong with our system.

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Kevin Laird is editor of the Sooke News Mirror. He can reached by email at klaird@blackpress.ca or by phone at 250-642-5752.