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Letter: KBRH cuts not acceptable


Dear Editor:

Re: Reduction in surgical services at KBRH

Several times, my wife and I have used the surgical services at Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital (KBRH), and, as we get older, we may need them again.

Therefore, the recently announced 25-per-cent reduction in KBRH operating room time, in order to save Interior Health money, is not acceptable. It follows other reductions over the past eight years, including the termination of most surgery in Nelson and all surgery in Castlegar. Even if surgeons remain in the area, there will be longer waits.

Conditions needing surgery neither heal spontaneously, nor put themselves “on hold” until dealt with. Reducing operating room time to save money is false economy. While it may help the immediate bottom line for the health authority, beyond that, nobody wins:

• Patients’ conditions will worsen, and require more extensive and more expensive procedures.
• More patients will need costly overnight or longer in-patient care rather than day care.
• People awaiting surgery who cannot work cannot contribute to the economic health of the community; they may need support, through social assistance or disability payments.
• News of never-ending cutbacks will circulate, and create difficulties in recruiting medical professionals; additional recruitment costs and financial incentives may become necessary.
• Professionals whose incomes suffer as a result of service reductions will contribute less to the community, if they actually decide to remain.
• Frustrated patients may seek relief in other regional hospitals, placing additional burdens on those facilities.

This list of foreseeable consequences could be carried on for pages, but the point is made: savings from service reductions at this regional hospital are illusory.

My wife and I try to lead healthy lives despite whatever limitations nature has imposed. We prefer to avoid using hospital services, but when it is necessary, I believe we have every right to expect that what we have paid for will be available without undue delay or distance.

Yours sincerely,

 

Bob Jackson