As a health care provider involved with patient care in this constituency, I made a point of going to listen to Mike Farnworth at the town hall public meeting in Qualicum Beach last week. I’d like to share my take on the discussions with the community.
I was impressed with his emphasis on home and community care as a practical way to provide better care at less cost while taking the pressure off acute care beds in our already overcrowded regional hospital.
The subjects of euthanasia and marijuana decriminalization, which seemed to be the focus of the report on this meeting, might distract the readers from some of the real issues that were asked and discussed that evening. For example, properly funded home care, the need for support for local hospice services, the acute need for respite beds, advanced care directives, discussion about ACLS paramedics and the importance of local dialogue and consultation.
Farnworth started by saying the goal of health care is to provide health services when they are needed and this demands an efficient health care system. There are a lot of challenges and demands on B.C.’s $17 billion budget.
Farnworth also noted when he was health minister 12 years ago, health services were quite different. The advances in technology have made surgeries faster with shorter convalescences, but this hardly eases the crisis in health care in B.C.
There was discussion re: professional health care providers retiring and there are staff shortages; we must be training the whole spectrum of health care workers — recruit our youth, create opportunity. Then we have to retain them with competitive wages.
Again, another very informative public meeting, thanks to Barry Avis. Open town hall meetings like this engage the communities, with people coming together from several different political points of view but with one common cause on Wednesday last. How to improve health services for our communities. The information sharing is a refreshing approach to building consensus, and is welcomed by many.
Brenda McComber, RN