As we head into the Fall, I’ve been hearing from constituents again about the healthcare challenges on the Saanich Peninsula. The challenges with the current system didn’t magically disappear over the summer and in fact there have been some tragic cases presented to me that are a result of the ongoing struggle people are having with primary care delivery. Accessing services is very difficult!
While the province negotiates agreements for a new model of service delivery focussing on team-based care, they are trying to balance a number of interests. In many cases they are competing interests. To be fair, they need to ensure that they find a way to balance the impact of change. As we know, change is difficult and when it impacts multiple interest groups, as it is in this case, it can easily become stuck.
As a Member of the Legislative Assembly, I represent people from all the interest groups and I’ve patiently worked my way through the system to try to understand their position now and how they got here. These are really complex and well-established relationships and systems that need to change. There are a lot of people invested in the current model of healthcare delivery, so it’s important to be patient and compassionate.
With the increasing volume of stories from my constituents who are being negatively impacted by the shortage of primary care it’s important to re-centre this negotiation.
Patient centred primary care
At the centre of healthcare is the patient. The entire business of delivering health services is not necessary without them. It seems a bit trite to say this but I think as the various parties get wound up in their discussions it’s entirely possible to lose this point. The Minister has his priority, healthcare providers have their priority, the patient has their priority and so on.
Let’s not forget the focus of this process is to improve the outcomes of the delivery of primary care services. So I will repeat this: the system should put the patient at the centre.
The relationship between patient and healthcare provider is one of the most intimate relationships in our society. Nobody knows more about your body. When there is a lack of choice or visits are harried and restricted to 10-15 minutes, people do not feel well served.
This is the system we have created. It has evolved over time and those with vested interests have reinforced their position. The system of remuneration has produced the outcomes that we now all agree needs to be improved.
I will continue to work through these challenges with all the parties involved. And, I will remain laser-focussed on keeping the perspective that it is the patient we are serving as we work through the difficult challenges of balancing all the other interests.
In an emergency we rush to “Emergency” at a hospital, our local one being Saanich Peninsula Hospital, which is withing this riding and the topic here. The simple fact that my last two visits there to deal with acute pain, infection resulted in HOURS of waiting (7 and 8 hours) before receiving any care is unacceptable ‘from a patient’s view-point’, meaning that it needs to change. I was told unless I had a ‘heart condition’ (chest pains) or was bleeding, those kinds of waiting times for any other acute emergency is what to expect…
My story is not unique. I was told by one of our local doctors that ‘in Vancouver the waiting times are worse’.
If we can’t treat people in “emergency care” promptly then our system is broken and has to be fixed. As tax payers we are not getting our value for our money paid. Government was elected to do better than this.
A neighbour of our lost her baby at the beginning of the year. In labor they found out the cord was wrapped around the baby’s neck. Emergency at Lady Minto. No anesthesiologist of course so could not do caesarian safely. Too stormy to evacuate by Helicopter or ambulance boat. Baby died. It was full term I believe.
This is an excerpt from the British Parliament’s Hansard – UK MP Fiona Bruce talking on July 3, 2019.
What the clinical director told us was startling. She told us of grave problems now being encountered in that country in connection with the practice of assisted suicide. She told us that in fact medical assistance in dying, or MAID as it is called there, involves in 99% of cases euthanasia, not assisted suicide. She told us of funding allocated to palliative care previously now being diverted for these purposes; of assessments being done on a very rudimentary basis, including even by telephone; of safeguards such as the 10-day reflection period being regularly shortened; and of MAID being used for non-terminal illnesses, even in a case of arthritis. There are now even proposals for it to be extended to so-called mature minors.
The full section is to be found here: http://bit.ly/2mGh9E9
The issue is – palliative care, and home support for the disabled and terminally ill are being shorted to fund and expedite ‘Medically Assisted Death’ – and the Green Party appears to be tone deaf on the subject. (I have spoken to Elizabeth May – forwarded Roger Foley’s story at her request – and the issue has been utterly ignored) Richard Foley (his blog is: http://rogerfoley.com/index.html ) is suing the government because he was refused adequate home care, and ‘offered’ death. The United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur on Disability, Catalina Devandas Aguilar, filed an official complaint with the Canadian Government on Roger’s behalf. Which doesn’t appear to have done any good.
Meanwhile, here in B.C., Sean Tagert was bullied into death by Vancouver Coastal Health.
The old and ill are very vulnerable to being denied care, made to feel guilty at being ‘burden’, and pressured into death in other ways. With palliative care being CUT – the situation will become horrific.
So, Adam, does ‘Patient Centred care mean helping people to live their lives to the fullest, with support even as they age, and as their health fails? Or will there just be the ‘pipeline to death’ that Elizabeth seems to support?