The upcoming May election prompts me to share our story. This past year, our family, like so many others, battled cancer. In order to access care, we were forced to travel great distances and spend months away from home, family and friends.
Although we are extremely grateful for the care we received, this time away from our home community in Golden was extremely stressful and costly.
Approximately $70,000 worth when you add in transportation, accommodation, lost wages, et
cetera. We cannot even claim these medical expenses on taxes. My disability due to MS and my husband’s illness and subsequent inability to work did not amount to much income-wise. My point is this. Interior Health continues to remove services from rural communities and “centralize” them. For example, Invermere recently saw their dialysis program shut down forcing patients to travel many hours several days per week. Communications I have had with Interior Health staff, BC Cancer Agency and the BC Health Minister have all been met with the same response. Our numbers do not warrant service delivery. We do not matter. So the cost and struggle to access services continues to be shifted onto the backs of patients.
This election, I am interested to hear what the candidates are willing to do about this injustice. We all pay for B.C. health care. Rural residents should have access to the same level of care as everyone else.