Critical Condition

John White: We need more than a bandage for this wound

It does nothing to address the lack of actual ambulances in the West Kootenay.

It was a definite first step Monday when BCEHS announced three additional paramedic resources allocated to Castlegar.

Unfortunately, it does nothing to address the lack of actual ambulances in the West Kootenay. The more significant threat to health care in the region is the delay in transfers or emergency response because of a shortage of available vehicles equipped with advanced-care paramedics.

As a reader commented on our story, “It’s going to do nothing to improve service to Castlegar and push out every part-timer who has been keeping that station staffed. Sooner or later people will realize we need more ambulances, not paramedics losing their jobs. At the end of the day, Castlegar still has two ambulances, whether it’s staffed by full time or part time it changes nothing when looking at the level of service delivered to the community.”

Having BCEHS recognize the seriousness of the situation and take steps to rectify it is a great sign, but it is just a bandage on an open wound. As we’ve established in our six-part investigative series, Critical Condition, the problem goes much beyond paramedic staffing numbers.

There is a recognized lack of support for rural British Columbians, identified in several studies and independent audits. We’ve received many personal stories that provide solid, if anecdotal, evidence of the dangers in this approach to rural care.

We’ve also established that the province could save lives and millions of dollars in health care costs by instituting a more efficient system that better provides pre-hospital care to all of B.C.’s residents regardless of postal code.

A vice-president from STARS — the successful and critically lauded air ambulance program — said his organization would be very willing to sit down with BCEHS and the province to talk about potential solutions to service those gaps identified by non-partisan experts. When you also consider that many primary health facilities in the province will come due for replacement at approximately the same time, we’ll need to find multiple solutions involving innovative technology, training and HR ingenuity to provide the necessary level of care without bankrupting the province.

What is clear after three months of investigation and reporting is this: People need to keep the pressure on those with the ability to research, approve and deliver meaningful solutions to our region. They need to call, email and message representatives at BCEHS, your MLA and provincial media outlets to push for real movement.

They’ve heard us and have responded. Now those in power need to hear from you. A united front of key representatives from the Kootenays working together with a sitting minister (MLA Katrine Conroy) could make a lot of noise and fast.

There have been recommendations put forward and an “Action Plan” in place for several years.

An Action Plan with little action is not much of a plan, and it could be devastating for many families.

We’ve leveraged interviews with many industry experts to lay the groundwork for change. Now, someone needs to step up and follow through.

Just Posted

Langley East MLA could testify in logging lawsuit

Rich Coleman has been put on the witness list for a lawsuit against TimberWest.

WATCH: Kwantlen artist paints and installs Indigenous mural in Fort Langley

First Nations painter Brandon Gabriel created a piece of art for Cranberries Naturally.

Surrey woman plans to travel after winning $500,000

Frances Jarvos bought her winning ticket at Willowbrook Mall in Langley

New Langley resident takes to the stage in upcoming musical

Leah Newson is performing in Annie: The Musical in Burnaby starting Feb. 1.

Day 3 brings fourth win for the Langley-based Team BC

Tyler Tardi and squad plays two games Tuesday at the junior curling nationals in Saskatchewan.

UPDATE: B.C. legislature managers accused of excessive travel, personal expense claims

Clerk Craig James, security chief Gary Lenz call allegations ‘completely false’

B.C. man fined $10,000 after leaving moose to suffer before death

Surrey man was convicted last week on three Wildlife Act charges

‘Blue Monday’ isn’t real, but depression can be

CMHA encourages people to prioritize their mental health

South Surrey mother didn’t have the intent to kill her daughter: defence

Closing submissions in case of Lisa Batstone underway

Anti-pipeline group wants NEB to consider impact of emissions, climate change

Stand.earth filed NEB motion asking to apply same standard to the project as it did with Energy East pipeline

B.C. man charged in 2014 snake venom death of toddler

Henry Thomas was taking care of the North Vancouver girl the day before she died

Parole granted for drunk driver who killed B.C. RCMP officer

Kenneth Jacob Fenton will be able to attend alcohol abuse treatment, nearly three years after crash that killed Const. Sarah Beckett

B.C.’s largest public-sector union wants inquiry into money laundering, drugs

Union officials say Premier John Horgan and Attorney General David Eby have not ruled out the possibility of a public inquiry

Aldergrove soccer tournament set for March 30-31

2019 edition of the Barry Bauder Memorial Soccer Tournament taking registrations

Most Read