Look after yourself, and all will benefit
Re: “We all have a role in our own health care,” letter, Jan. 26.
The writer is correct that patient accountability is sorely lacking in our health-care system. As patients, each one of us has some responsibility for our own health.
Shifting responsibility and embedding patients’ accountability in family practice can solve the physician shortage without even tinkering with regulatory protocols and waiting for the new medical graduates or foreign-trained doctors to come on board.
For the past many months there has been talk about the physician shortage — we hear one in five British Columbians does not have access to a regular family physician.
Although 80 per cent of the population currently have full access (five days a week) to a regular physician, there is no explicit or mandated expectation on patients for self-care even though they are the beneficiaries.
If every patient who enjoys full access to a regular physician is required to take responsibility for about 20 per cent of their own health, that will free up one day a week of physician’s access that can then be allocated to those who do not have access to a regular physician.
With this shift, every British Columbian will have about 80 per cent access (i.e., four days a week) to physician care. For about 20 per cent of their care (i.e., one day a week) every British Columbian would rely on walk-in or community clinics, and this will promote self-care and as beneficiaries of the health system will make patients responsible for some of their own health care, as the writer is suggesting.
Unfortunately, our bureaucracy is so thick, it is layered with progressively dense filters of positional power and bureaucratic arrogance that work to stifle creativity and innovation.
No wonder, despite advancements in data science, analytical and modelling capability, we could not foresee and plan for nursing and physician shortages, and shortages of other health workers that we are experiencing.
The pandemic gave us a jolt and overwhelmed our health-care system, but it is not the cause of the shortages that we are experiencing.
Do we know what health-care crises are looming down the road 10 years from now?
Paramjit S. Rana
Health-care system is there for us
My wife and I would like to offer a sincere thank-you based on our personal and very positive experience when I recently suffered a stroke.
I was rushed to Victoria General Hospital by paramedics who were at our front door less than 10 minutes after calling 911. I was cared for in the ER by the skilled and very thorough and professional staff.
It was a scary six hours that nobody should experience, but after a series of critical tests (CAT scan, blood tests, discussions with experts), I was assessed as being able to return home that very day under my own steam.
The next day, I was contacted by the Stroke Rapid Assessment Unit at VGH, and the day after I met with a wonderful neurologist and again received excellent and timely care.
I returned to VGH four days later to have an MRI that confirmed the stroke I had suffered. I have new meds to assist me in my recovery and there will be planned follow-up in three months for further assessment.
All that is to say, the health-care system is under tremendous pressure, but when you really need help, it is ready, willing and able to assist. Thank you, one and all.
Island Health putting pressure on doctors
Island Health’s disregard for the health of our doctors and nurses is concerning. During numerous meetings with Mount Waddington directors on the North Island, I’ve expressed concern for the health of my family doctor and others.
They are expected to work 72 consecutive hours, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Recently my doctor presented to the emergency department for chest pains.
He gave a week or more notice to Island Health he could only work 12 consecutive hours a week on top of his six days clinic and outreach work, due to his health. He was reported for putting “patients at risk.
Shortly thereafter, he was admitted for surgery in Victoria. I believe the stress and pressure put on him by Island Health is a direct cause. There is a total lack of regard by Island Health’s CEO and executives.
It is them who are putting the health of doctors, nurses, paramedics and health care workers at risk.
We only have two resident doctors as of July. I believe the reason doctors come and go is a direct cause of the disrespect and treatment they receive from Island Health.
We need help, not bureaucrats.
Indigenous Museum is needed in B.C.
Re: “Royal B.C. Museum returning totem to remote First Nation,” Jan. 25.
This is a good example of ”repatriation” living up to expectations. In this case, it involves only one totem pole, but last week I counted 15 totem poles in the museum’s main floor showcase and front lobby.
They are a precious cultural icon of First Nations and should be returned to their rightful owners who can appreciate their symbolism.
To display only one or two totem poles in strategic locations in the museum would no doubt attract more attention and arouse a heightened awareness of their native significance.
In fact, repatriation calls for all artifacts to be returned to Indigenous people. These include: baskets, net weights, mauls, bailers, fish hooks, projectile hooks, carvings, and of course, totem poles.
In the 2019 Report on Indigenous Community Engagement on the Modernization of the Royal B.C. Museum, (found on the RBCM website), after consulting more than 40 communities, several participants expressed a longing to have their own museum.
That would enable them to repatriate and then display their artifacts according to their cultural traditions in one convenient location.
There are many well-qualified Indigenous executives at the RCBM, such as CEO Alicia Dubois, who could transition over to a new facility to lighten the burden of founding a new Indigenous museum and displaying the artifacts according to traditional native customs.
Drug addicts need proper guidance
The tragedy of thousands of deaths due to illegal drugs, contaminated with fentanyl, is understandable.
People with drug addiction, for the most part, do not have access to an inexpensive and safe alternative. Recent decriminalization of small personal amounts of narcotics may help to destigmatize drug addiction, but will not solve the problem.
Unless and until addicts are provided with either convenient and timely professional guidance and instruction, or safe and readily available narcotics, people will continue to die diaily at an unacceptable rate.
Norman Wale, M.D.
A safe drug supply, with rehabilitation
Kudos to those who have submitted compassionate opinions on the best way to navigate the issue of drugs and deaths.
I do believe that a hybrid system of rehab centers and safe drug supply is needed, optimally in one welcoming facility.
We already have a safe supply of alcohol and cannabis supply, and Health Canada in conjunction with office of controlled substances has licensed producers to make these safer drugs.
The one thing that has been missing is where users (addict and recreational) can access these safe drugs.
A regulated system of licensed drug producers exists so it would be easy to take the next step in having locations to supply these safe drugs. It makes sense to have it in a location where there is /are rehabilitation centres.
Rehabilitation is great, but only works if the person wants it and is ready for it, just as in alcoholism. In the meantime, safe drugs, just like we have safe alcohol and cannabis, is a must.
Further, safe drugs would be a revenue stream for the government, just as cannabis is a billion-dollar industry today.
More maturity needed from council
Re: “Council used its power over James Bay,” letter, Jan. 27.
The destruction of Village Green in James Bay and the imminent cutting of up to 17 huge “bylaw-protected” trees on that property, and of all the flowering boulevard trees on the block, reflects the heartache that we, in this corner of Victoria, feel on a daily basis.
In approving (unanimously) this destruction and its forthcoming replacement by a massively larger, market-rate rental building, the previous council succeeded in destroying an existing rental property and evicting renters who had lived in these units for years.
It ignored not only the residents of James Bay and the fact that the City of Victoria had adopted the UN urban tree plan, but also guidelines in the existing James Bay Local Area Plan as well as the fact that no modern local area plan has been developed for this area, already the densest in Victoria and struggling with relentless pressure from developers.
As we watch the Village Green destruction proceed on a daily and agonizing basis, the best that we can hope for now is more maturity and thoughtfulness in development decisions from the current council.
Mount Newton transit lane already a success
The new bus stop and queue-jump lane at Mount Newton Cross Road and the Patricia Bay Highway has opened, and as a frequent rider on this route, I can tell it has been a resounding success.
The phenomenon of “induced demand” (which states that an improvement to transportation infrastructure brings more users), is abundantly clear. The stop is already busy, and buses can merge efficiently onto the highway.
In order to make communities more accessible and affordable, as well as to meet climate targets, far more transit improvements like this are needed. Not only do bus lanes bring more riders at the new stop, they also improve travel times and reliability. This increases public transit ridership across the wider network.
All of this is done while costing a modest $7 million, and in only a few months. This pales in comparison to the proposed flyover interchange at Keating, estimated at $77 million, causing years of construction-related jams. More than seven queue jumps can be built for the cost of one overpass.
Induced demand works both ways. This new overpass will not reduce traffic volumes, it will merely shift congestion into residential areas, which is unsafe. With the same number of cars on the road, congestion will not be eased.
The provincial government’s climate plan calls for 25 per cent less driving by 2030. Shifting funding from highway expansion to transit improvements is essential for reaching this laudable target.
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