Jan. 3, 2020

It's tough to get municipal officials to support health initiative

I wrote to all 12 elected municipal politicians in Oceanside on Dec. 5 – five in Qualicum Beach and seven in Parksville. I sked for their written support in my efforts to get the Federal Health Minister to review the Canada Health Act to ascertain whether B.C. is in compliance with the five conditions of the Act. This fiscal year B.C. is receiving $5 billion under this Act. A total of $40 billion is distributed across the country. 

This action was triggered by the recent closure of a medical office in our area putting 2,000 people without a family doctor in our Regional District. The closing practice offered a replacement family doctor in another Regional District, 45 kilometres away. There is no public transit to this replacement medical practice. 

Given that one of the conditions under the Canada Health Act which determines whether Federal money is provided is reasonable accessibility it is my contention that this provision is being violated. Quite likely the other five provisions are being violated as well. 

Only two of the 12 municipal politicians answered my e-mail. In that e-mail I specifically said: “Therefore, I ask that you write me providing that support.”

Councillor Chandler of Parksville thanked me for my involvement but did not provide support. 

Mayor Ed Mayne answered providing support and I have had a personal meeting with him. On earlier e-mails on this subject to this Mayor he has answered every one. An earlier e-mail to all councillors was also answered by Councillor Harrison of Qualicum Beach but no response from him on my latest one seeking written support. 

I do not think it is too much to ask municipal politicians to answer written questions that a local taxpayer asks of them.

It will be impossible to get improvements to our heath care if we do not band together locally, not for more studies, but to force the senior governments who control the purse strings to examine present arrangements, seek compliance to those arrangements  and seek improvements for the future. 

According to the Commonwealth Fund, an organization that studies heath systems, Canada is 16th out of 19 OECD Countries in the number of doctors per 1,000 population. Only China, India and Japan have fewer practising physicians.