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Canada not third world country, but our health care may be

Editor, The Nelson Daily

Doesn’t it just cream your corn when you witness a situation that you have no control over?  One knows there is a problem and it needs to be solved however, helplessness seems to control the moment.  Am I the only person with skull cramps caused by incomprehension of our health system?
 
While waiting to see a doctor at a Nelson Walk-in clinic, I exchanged pleasantries with two gentlemen. They both seemed distraught and in obvious pain. They had previously attended the Trail hospital emergency room.  Both patients were told that there would be a four hour wait and one fellow was told to go to Nelson. The other fellow had already been triaged in Trail, but required immediate follow-up for severe pain.  He could not wait for four hours.

Their personal physicians were on holidays and this set up a situation that is all too familiar. 

Now what do you do and where do you go?  Coincidentally, they both decided on Nelson.  This set the stage  for what is becoming a concern for many patients in the Kootenays. This in itself is understandable as we all know the system is overloaded. 

The question is why?
 
We should remember that these waiting times in hospitals and clinics are not the fault of the health care workers as I am sure they are doing their best to alleviate what is a huge problem in our province and apparently across the nation. 

We must ask why the health care system is breaking down. There are many questions that should be asked however, it seems that when an MLA takes on the health minister it falls on deaf ears.  This then becomes simply rhetoric and negligence or at the very least, incompetence.

The basics in Health Care remain the same, universal coverage for medically necessary health care services provided on need rather than the ability to pay.
 
My very real concern comes from hearing over and over that seniors are overwhelming the system.  This may be factual, but “So what”? 

Get a grip folks. 

If there is a need for more care and attention to seniors, deal with it, step up to the plate and do something, anything.  It is fantastic that we are aging.  We live in a great country, a great province and the Kootenay area is second to none. 

Why do I get the feeling that the government is dumping on the folks who have paid their taxes all their lives and have contributed to society only to be used as a scapegoat for what I would call incompetence at its highest level? 

Seniors do not want special treatment, just a fair shake, some compassion and some understanding in their time of need. Isn’t it confusing when the powers that be ask us to look after our health, but when the outcome is longevity, we are now part of the problem?

Canadians have a better knowledge of health care these days and actually are doing a hell of a job to make things easier on the system. The problem comes when inter-professional collaboration breaks down and the common goal of enhancing health benefits for patients suffers.
 
The real problem is with our elected politicians.  It appears that an agenda of appeasing corporations and pharmaceutical companies takes precedence over what should be their primary objective. 

That objective must be to attend to the emotional and physical health of Canada’s citizens.

This country should be throwing every single nickel at the health care issue not squandering tax-payers dollars on raises for politicians, ridiculous pension benefits for politicians and protecting corrupt politicians.  It is time to bring the hammer down. 

If not now, when? Why are they always fixing the blame and never the problem?
 
In 2002 the Roy Romanow report basically highlighted the fact that " Times are a changin" and we had better get with the program or there would be problems and here we are in that exact situation.

If the politicians in power cannot solve these issues, it is time for them to vacate the office they hold.I am confident that they can do better, but it won’t happen as long as our politicians are more equal than the rest of us.  When was the last time anyone noticed a politician waiting in an emergency room or clinic for four hours or more?
 
My wish is that the condescension by those who hold the power over our health care stops immediately. Canada is not a third world country and we deserve better.
 
Leon Thiessen
Harrop, B.C.