Burns Lake needs doctors first

So many questions and so few answers.

So many questions and so few answers.

This was the feeling I got from the public meeting between Northern Health and the public last week.

While most of the general public seemed to be focussed on the ability to have an operating room ready to go in the new Lakes District Hospital, I am somewhat more concerned with the fact that we have only one full time doctor here.

This is concerning to say the least and I agree with Northern Health’s Michael McMillan,  we need doctors first and foremost.

We could have a brand new operating room ready to go at the Lakes District Hospital right this minute and it would not be much use at all with only one full time doctor.

I agree that the local area does need an operating room – this, of course goes without saying.

It is definitely the chicken and the egg situation. Do you build the operating room first in the hopes of luring doctors here, or do you get doctors first which justifies the ability to have an operating room.

However we don’t have the luxury to choose. The hospital will take up to two or three years to build ….. the local area can not wait this long for more doctors.

We as a community don’t really have much control over the situation. The community is making a loud enough noise to be heard by both Northern Health and the government, but are they listening. Time will tell.

There is a huge difference between hearing and just listening.

Nechako Lakes MLA John Rustad hinted at the levels of bureaucracy the decision to fund a new hospital would have to go through during the meeting – the decision is passed like a hot potato backwards and forwards between the health minister and the finance minister.

To me this seems ridiculous.

I have to also take issue with the provincial government’s 2011 budget highlights (to be found at http://www.bcbudget.gov.bc.ca/2011) in which it states that B.C. has one of the best health care systems in the country.

If they are using the Lakes District as a model for this statement then I would be very concerned for the other provinces of Canada.

Of course the government is more than likely measuring B.C’s level of health care from Vancouver.

Most graduates migrate to cities – and why not – the chance to earn more money, gain more prestige and have the ability to specialize in a particular field.

If health authorities like Northern Health want doctors to come to the North then they have to make the circumstances just as attractive for them.

It was mentioned at the meeting by a member of the public that our hospital could be a training hospital for medical students.

This seems like a good idea. For one, we would have a continual influx of young doctors who would have a chance to experience all that Burns Lake has to offer, and of course once they have had a taste of our wonderful community – how could they not want to make a life for themselves here?

Let’s just hope the government and Northern Health do the right thing. After all – there is 10,000 people in this area depending on them.