ER congestion: Lake says there are ways to reduce ER waits
To help relieve the pressure on emergency rooms in the province, it’s important to look outside those wards to the source itself, according to Kamloops-North Thompson Liberal MLA Terry Lake.
And, one of the effective ways to do that, he said, is through improvements to community-care programs that can help people address health issues either before they require hospitalization or in a manner that avoids hospital stays.
Lake pointed to recent announcements of the Breathe Well and Home is Best programs, one of which is designed to assist people with chronic breathing issues and the other providing health services to help seniors who might otherwise require a move to a residential-care facility.
More changes to the community-care programming provided by the government are forthcoming, according to an email from the Ministry of Health.
The other way to relieve the ER pressure is to ensure people have family doctors, Lake said, and he thinks the $132-million expansion of the government’s GPs for Me program — designed to ensure everyone in B.C. has a primary doctor — will have an impact on the number of hospital visits.
Other changes to the health-care system Lake pointed to as improvements include creating a community-dialysis centre, now under construction on Tranquille Road in North Kamloops, using more nurse practitioners during times when doctors might otherwise be used, and having medical students train at Royal Inland Hospital.
Lake said he hopes the training program might see these students, when they graduate, decide to make Kamloops their home and Kamloopsians their patients, adding to the supply of doctors in the city.
“The biggest challenge in Kamloops, at least according to what we hear at the constituency level, is access to primary physicians,” he said.
Despite the complaints from ER doctors across the province, who have taken to the Internet to voice their concerns, Lake said he is convinced the province “is doing very well with the amount of money we spend.
“Our outcomes are the best in Canada.”