Mungall Stands Up to Reduce Surgical Wait Times in the Kootenays

Posted in: ,

Click here to watch the webclip: Surgical Services at Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital – QP Clip – March 3, 2010

March 3, 2010

Nelson- After writing to the Minister of Health and not receiving a response, Nelson-Creston MLA Michelle Mungall is again asking him to reverse the Interior Health Authority’s recent cuts to surgery at Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital. During Question Period on March 3, Mungall joined Kootenay West MLA Katrine Conroy in asking the BC Liberal Government for action.

“The negative effects of these OR cuts are hurting real people throughout the Kootenays,” said Mungall. “Will the minister intervene so patients do not have to wait even longer in pain for the surgery that they need?”

The Interior Health Authority’s reduction of 16 operating days per week from 20 effectively closes one quarter of operating rooms at KBRH. With over one thousand Kootenay residents waiting a year or longer for medically necessary surgeries, physicians throughout the region fear that their patients will now be waiting in pain even longer.

In a letter to the IHA earlier on March 1, the KBRH Medical Advisory Committee writes that they unanimously passed a motion of non-confidence in the IHA. Specifically, they write “as a medical community we do not have confidence in the administration’s comprehension of the implications of their fiscal policies and the impact these policies will have on direct patient care and on the sustainability of this facility [KBRH] as a regional hospital.”

Although the doctors lack confidence in the IHA, they have total confidence in the specialized OR nurses who have already received lay-off notices. In an effort to maintain these highly trained nurses, and keep the operating rooms open, doctors at KBRH are offering to pay for OR nurse’s salaries from their own pockets.

“This is what the state of health care has come to in this region. Doctors are digging into their own pockets to make the system work for their patients,” says Mungall.

Despite pressure from local MLAs, the Minister failed to make any commitment to protect healthcare and reduce wait times for surgery in the Kootenays.

Carole James and the New Democrats are committed to a strong, responsive public health care system that is accessible to rural British Columbians.