Black Press went to our readers to gather a list of questions they would like to ask the Kootenay West candidates in the upcoming provincial election.
The Kootenay West riding will have six names on the ballot: Glen Byle (Conservative), Katrine Conroy (NDP), Andrew Duncan (Green) Corbin Kelley (Liberal), Fletcher Quince (Independent) and Ed Varney (Independent).
We will posting one set of question and answers each day for the next week.
Q: Many readers expressed frustration with gaps in the healthcare system such as doctor shortages, difficulty accessing lab services, difficulty accessing specialist services, lower levels of care in the region compared to other areas, ambulance shortages and lack of diagnostic and treatment equipment. How do you or your party plan to address these issues?
Byle – I have talked to many smart people in our local healthcare system who are at the front lines of these issues and who have great ideas on how to improve healthcare services in our area. I would like to see our healthcare system take their ideas, compare those ideas to what other healthcare systems worldwide have done, and implement them if the outcome looks positive.
Conroy – We have invested in healthcare in our region including hospitals and a new primary health care centre and funded the hiring of 33 new health professionals in this area. We have slashed wait times for MRI with 8 new MRI machines now operating 24/7. We fixed the previous government understaffing of senior’s care homes. There has been more than $1.6 billion put into the healthcare system to hire 7,000 more staff to fight COVID-19. Continue to work with IHA to make sure that health services are provided in our region, this includes access to lab services.
Duncan – As a former BC Ambulance paramedic there are so many things I want to say. In general, politicians must stop spouting off stating that we have an amazing health care system! If that were the true the NDP would not use private healthcare for WCB patients. The first step of any issue is to recognize the problem. Lets rate the regional healthcare systems and service. Vancouver has “A” class systems; Trail has “D”, Castlegar “F”.
Quince – My approach to healthcare is focusing on client perspectives, and addressing concerns through an increase in healthcare capacity at the community level. Therefore, I would act to increase service delivery through community outreach and a regionalized model of Buurtzorg. Furthermore, through increased investments in health education, I would look for opportunities to build upon amazing programs such as those offered at Selkirk as a way of increasingly attracting investments in specialized equipment and educators.
Varney – The shortages reflect lack of funding. Government prefers to fly around in helicopters rather than fill the needs of the people of B.C. We have the money to fulfill these needs. The money will be here until October 24th and disappear October 25th.