EDITORIAL: Rural health care a priority

Citizens have spoken and whoever is elected May 14 in the Shuswap needs to make, in particular, Enderby doctor shortage a priority

It’s no surprise that the issue of physicians came up at the Enderby all-candidates forum Tuesday and then rural health care again came up in Armstrong Wednesday.

After all, there is currently just one permanent doctor for the community of 7,200 people.

“The delivery of health care in the rural area is abysmal,” said Armstrong resident and former mayor Jerry Oglow at Wednesday’s forum.

Residents are forced to travel to bigger centres like Vernon and Salmon Arm to seek medical attention.

While there, many are buying prescriptions, groceries and spending their dollars in other communities.

And that’s driving commerce out of the smaller centres.

Therefore the suggestion of utilizing nurse practitioners is one many candidates agree on.

There has also been the suggestion that more preventative measures need to be taken to take the burden off the health care system. People who eat better and exercise regularly are healthier, therefore don’t need to visit the doctor as often.

So everyone can agree that something needs to be done, and there are some realistic suggestions on the table.

Whoever gets elected will need to take such suggestions (whether they are their own, their fellow candidates’ or the citizens’) and make them a reality.

It’s evident through these recent forums that health care is a top priority among many Shuswap residents.

Therefore the elected official needs to make it their top priority as well.

– Vernon Morning Star