On life support

Slowly, piece by little piece, sneakily and quietly, we are losing our universal health care system in Canada.

And it’s time to wake up and smell the anesthetic we are being fed to keep us unconscious.

It’s not uncommon to wait more than a year for a joint replacement. That’s after waiting months for certain diagnostic services (MRI, ultrasound, etc.) and six or more months just to be seen by a specialist. Then there’s the very long wait for surgery — a minimum of two years from start to finish. You can’t convince me the cost to a patient of many months of emotional and mental, as well as physical, pain is not creating a huge price in quality of life and economic stress for Canadians.

The waitlist for an ultra-sound of the shoulder is six months and you may have to go to Salmon Arm or Revelstoke.

Thousands of people in B.C. have no access to a family doctor. Drop-in clinics, that initially eased emergency rooms of non-emergency care loads and provide after-hour access, have now replaced the family doctor for hundreds of residents. The lineups are outside the doors of the clinics and the drop-in aspect is laughable.

Vernon Jubilee Hospital doesn’t do cardiac angiograms.

Prime Minister Trudeau met with premiers last December and proposed investments of $11 billion over 10 years for home care and mental health, as well as $544 million over five years for prescription drug and innovation initiatives. The government also said it would lock in a 3.5 per cent annual increase in health transfers. As a whole, the national deal was turned down by the premiers.

However, some provinces and the three territories have been able to negotiate a bilateral deal for these critically needed services.

Our medical system is causing needless suffering and I believe it is responsible for avoidable deaths.

Our government refuses to publicly sanction a two-tiered system, which could be regulated, but very quietly and slowly this is occurring as the government turns a blind eye.

Specialists can perform health care uninsured, in-office procedures and invoice the patient, while the system quietly increases the list of procedures and medications without coverage.

Private clinics do MRI scans and charge patients, depending on the body area, anywhere from $895 to $2,245.

Our universal medical system is not applied equally across the nation.

There are federal policies, individual provincial policies and local health authority policies. Your good and bad luck is determined by where you live.

What can you do? Change only happens with pressure from high numbers. Write your story.

We all tell each other our miserable experiences with health care. Tell those who can make a difference. Tell your health authority, tell your MP, tell your MLA and tell your local newspaper.

There are only two things that strike fear into a politician — loss of votes and loss of power.

We need to hit their soft spots. An election is coming in B.C. in May. Stop the suffering. Tell the government your story and what you want and demand change. We will not get it unless you do.

Lynn Moore

Vernon