To MLA Doug Clovechok
You may be aware that, in 2000, the Kimberley Hospital was shut down and services moved to a newly-designated East Kootenay Regional Hospital in Cranbrook. At that time, the decision to regionalize was made with the commitment to “better serve” the East Kootenay area. To date, the East Kootenay Regional Hospital serves not only Cranbrook, but also Creston, Sparwood, Fernie, Invermere, Elkford, and Kimberley as well as several smaller communities in between- a vast area indeed! Population far exceeds the hospital’s capacity to “meet the needs” of the public. I am but one person in the sea of people encompassed in the East Kootenay area, yet I have personally recently experienced two major disappointments in the medical services provided.
*Experience 1: My friend (age 83 years) has been anxiously waiting for major surgery for six months. Finally, she was given a date through her doctor; she was both anxious and relieved to get it over. Given that she lives alone, arrangements were made for a family member to travel from Idaho to stay with her during her post-operative period. Then, two days before scheduled surgery, the operation was postponed for another month due to a lack of staff in the anaesthesiology department. This, in our REGIONAL HOSPITAL.
*Experience 2: My husband was scheduled through his doctor for surgery, and has been waiting for approximately three months. Currently recovering from a major stroke, he, too, was relieved and anxious to have the process over with. Then, two days before surgery, he was told that the operation was postponed for two months; the reason- emergency surgery for a cancer patient and the lack of staff in the anaesthesiology department in our REGIONAL HOSPITAL. Imagine what these people have gone through. They are but two. STARS air services (among other providers) have frequently air-evacuated British Columbia residents into Alberta hospitals for treatment.
These are only two examples of inadequate medical services in this area; we get better medical services from Alberta than we do from British Columbia. If we continue to be unable to get better medical services in British Columbia, perhaps we need better government.
As a footnote, I remind you that, due to regionalization, Kimberley itself has only one government service- a liquor store. We have no court house with accompanying support services, no Government Agent, no conservation officer services and NO HOSPITAL.
These services were lost in order to “better serve the people”- those people who pay your salary.