A quote on the Ministry of Health website states: "The Ministry of Health has an overall responsibility for ensuring that, quality, appropriate, cost effective and timely health services are available for all British Columbians."
The latest budget of the NDP government revealed a surplus. A surplus is a good thing but we fear it is and will be used for things not pertinent to today's health care crisis in British Columbia.
First, we would like to point out that the province does not stop at Hope. There are people in the northern part of our province that need to be considered - people who live here because we choose, people who vote and pay taxes and do not reap the benefits.
We live in Fraser Lake. We live here because we want to be here, for the lifestyle, the beauty and the peacefulness. We are not alone.
We live within the realm of Northern Health, a vast network with Prince George and the University Hospital of Northern B.C. as its hub.
There are smaller hospitals that provide health care facilities up to a point. Unfortunately, Northern Health is in crisis, the Prince George hospital is too small, there are not enough beds, not enough operating rooms and not enough OR time.
Northern Health is not doing its job and neither is the province to see that we in the North get the best care possible. We have very good doctors and surgeons but they will not stay if things do not improve.
I just read that the wait for hip and knee replacement farther south is 45 weeks but here, it can be up to two years or more. It shouldn't matter that a patient is older than 70 or even in their 80s, they should still be entitled to the best care possible and that isn't happening.
We have an aging population here and unfortunately the government has not kept up with the health care. For the most part, we are healthy active people, we walk, we look after our own homes, we garden, we cut our own grass. Even in the winter in the North, we are outside, clearing driveways on our own, walking our dogs and on it goes. But we wait and wait for surgeries that would improve our quality of life.
We would rather continue to pay our MSP premiums and see better health care and bigger, better hospitals and nursing homes. Look after the people who have been paying taxes our whole lives.
My 80-year-old husband who has had a fall and is waiting for knee replacement, waited over a year to see an orthopedic surgeon, only to find out that he may have another year to wait for his surgery. His is a man who likes to be independent, who still hunts and fishes and does his own maintenance to vehicles, and to our home, cuts our grass, digs our garden by hand, walks our dog a short distance to try to keep mobile.
The crux of the matter is that the health care in the whole province and especially in the North needs to improve. Northern Health should be taken to task and revamped and we should be able to have the healthcare that we as taxpayers, who have payed into the system our whole life need and deserve.
Dr. E.T. Wiggins and M. Lynn Wiggins