Health care woes

Resident concerned about the current status of the health care system

I feel embarrassed writing this letter because I was always proud of our health care system and the way it provided so much care for our ailing seniors.

However, in 2001, the neo-conservative wing of the Liberal government started its mean-spirited campaign against seniors by cutting many valuable programs.

That campaign reached its lowest point last year when the premier made her inane comment that seniors have to look after themselves, that they can’t expect society to do it for them.

What other politician in any jurisdiction would make such a ridiculous comment?

In the Okanagan, extended health care is in crisis because the government has done very little to provide more subsidized beds, referring people to very expensive privately run facilities.

The health ministry committed a big blunder when it scrapped the in-home assistance program to keep seniors in their homes as long as possible.

In the mid-90s, this program would have a care worker visit a senior’s home two or three times a week, do some housework, prepare some meals and supervise bathing.

When seniors face a health care crisis for a spouse, they don’t need a social worker telling them they’ll have to sell their home and otherwise harass and intimidate them.

Now can you believe this? Seniors can be told their spouse may stay in hospital until a bed is found elsewhere but then they must sign an Interior Health contract agreeing to pay up to $35 per day.

But it gets worse. If you refuse to accept the first offer of a bed at an extended care facility, you must agree to pay $1,000 a day to stay in hospital.

This has to be the most disgusting abuse of seniors already facing the daily pressure of a loved one with serious health problems and no end in sight and now facing the prospect of having their loved one in a facility some 40 or 50 kilometres away.

To Health Minister Terry Lake and MLA Eric Foster, shame.

M. Hesketh