South Surrey town hall airs residents’ health concerns – North Delta Reporter

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Trevor Halford, MPP for Surrey-White Rick, and Elenore Sturko, MPP-elect for Surrey South, chat with a resident after the town hall meeting. Photo by Alex Browne
A town hall meeting on health care at Camp Alexandra with five Liberal MPs from British Columbia on September 20 may have had little attendance, but was not short of issues of concern.  Photo by Alex BrowneA town hall meeting on health care at Camp Alexandra with five Liberal MPs from British Columbia on September 20 may have had little attendance, but was not short of issues of concern. Photo by Alex Browne
BC Liberal MPs (left to right) Elenore Sturko, Trevor Halford, Karin Kirkpatrick, Shirley Bond and Coralee Oakes attend a health care town hall meeting at Camp Alexandra on September 20.  Photo by Alex BrowneBC Liberal MPs (left to right) Elenore Sturko, Trevor Halford, Karin Kirkpatrick, Shirley Bond and Coralee Oakes attend a health care town hall meeting at Camp Alexandra on September 20. Photo by Alex Browne

At a mid-afternoon public health care meeting hosted by Surrey-White Rock MLA Trevor Halford at Crescent Beach on September 20, panel attendees almost outnumbered the public.

About a dozen people attended the meeting, at Camp Alexandra, to ask questions and share their experiences with Halford and fellow BC Liberal MPs Shirley Bond (Prince George-Valemount, Health Critic and Deputy Leader), newly elected Elenore Sturko (Surrey South), Karin Kirkpatrick (West Vancouver-Capilano) and Coralee Oakes (Cariboo North).

But Halford was unimpressed with the turnout, noting how difficult it is for many residents to attend meetings during a work day.

“We plan to have many more such meetings, at different times, including in the evening,” he told Peace Arch News. “I don’t care if it’s four people or 400 – I’m ready to meet people and hear their concerns.”

Even with a handful of participants, serious questions about health care have emerged, including difficulties in accessing services and support for physical and mental health, closures of private long-term care facilities and problems of the elderly facing services that are increasingly migrating online. -models only.

“I am proud to serve a constituency that has many elderly residents,” Halford said, after hearing about a situation in which a 99-year-old resident had his phone service cut off after a miscommunication with a service provider. .

“I don’t want to hear about a senior without phone service in my constituency,” he said, promising to intervene in the dispute. “It becomes a health issue.”

Local support for residents is essential, Halford and Sturko agreed, as they promised to help a resident who has a family member whose quality of life has been jeopardized by the closure of a private care facility. of long duration, with few alternatives in the community, due to the closure of similar facilities.

Sturko recalled his Surrey South predecessor, Stephanie Cadieux, successfully dealing with patients displaced by a similar closure.

“The best result is a local result,” observed Halford.

But the main concern of residents, it emerged from the meeting, is the continuing shortage of family physicians in the province. As Bond pointed out, family medicine physicians are typically the first contacts for patients in terms of preventive care, testing, and access to medical or care facilities, providing important guidance at every step.

“I don’t think it’s an overstatement to say the health care system in British Columbia is in crisis,” Bond said.

“We have a million British Columbians right now who don’t have a family doctor. Without a family doctor who will help you? You miss all kinds of opportunities for preventive care.

“When you call 911, you have no guarantee that an ambulance will arrive and the nurses will run out,” she said.

Bond said that in July, BC Liberal Leader Kevin Falcon and the party caucus submitted a 10-point action plan on the crisis to the NDP government, which suggested, among other things, that limits acceptance of foreign-trained medical personnel be amended.

Bond said many young graduates from British Columbia and across Canada have been training overseas due to a lack of places at educational institutions back home.

“We want to bring these internationally trained graduates home, where they want to be,” she said.

“We thought very carefully about our suggestions, but the government did not respond,” she added.

“We will continue to hold them to account and make practical suggestions.”

Halford said he received a letter from his own doctor saying he was cutting back on his practice and that his family might consider finding another practitioner.

“Part of the challenge is that things haven’t changed in a decade,” he said.

“Doctors operate like small businesses – they have to charge rent, they have to recruit and retain staff. I represent a riding mostly made up of seniors. When an elderly person sees a doctor, they are usually faced with a host of problems. It means extra work, but there is no price structure for it.

Sturko said that during her recent by-election campaign she met many doctors and nurses.

“I’ve seen how desperate healthcare providers are with the government,” she said.

“Not only are they dealing with the significant impacts of COVID and the opioid crisis and the heated dome last year, but they also feel disrespected by the lack of support from the provincial government.”


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