Send your letter to the editor via email to Please included your first and last name, address, and phone number.

Send your letter to the editor via email to Please included your first and last name, address, and phone number.

LETTER: Access to healthcare observed during pandemic

COVID-19 has resulted in changes for those who need medical help

Dear Editor:

A recent C.A.R.P. survey in from across Canada showed that “Limited access to healthcare for non-emergency, non-COVID medical matters has impacted the quality of life and mental health for a large number of those 50 plus. I know that applies to people under 50 as well.

That statement really hit home to me in regards to my experience along with many others in the South Okanagan. Once upon a time there were other health matters, some of which were far more deadly than COVID-19.

If a health issue came up that gave you cause for concern, you could generally get access to your family doctor in a day or two or a week on the outside. If your doctor ordered lab tests, you could walk in the same or next day then see your doctor the following week.

READ ALSO: UPDATE: Data suggests Pfizer vaccine may be almost as good after 1 dose as 2

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Since the lockdown, you will be lucky to snag that doctors appointment in two to three weeks and that will just be a phone appointment to determine if you able to secure an in-office appointment. So what should take a few weeks on the outside to either relieve your mind or move you to the treatments you need to achieve the best medical outcome, stretches to five weeks or even more.

Then there’s the scenario where you suddenly experience a health issue and you are conflicted about what to do. You know you can go to Emergency but you agonize over that decision because you know there are life and death emergencies happening out there. Do you go or not go?

We have been denied timely access to our doctors and clinics since last spring.

Before you blame your doctor or the receptionist you are vainly trying to book an appointment with, understand that this is not their fault. The B.C. Health Authority set the rules of operation for your local clinics and aside from not allowing crowded waiting rooms, they have reduced the number of doctors allowed to work in the clinic and the number of nurses in the labs.

I can understand that as an initial response to the pandemic, but this has been going on since spring and due to the disastrous vaccination program will probably continue until fall if we are lucky. There has been plenty of time to modify those guidelines and allow our non-COVID medical services to become more efficient. If they need more PPE, provide it. If they need more cleaning staff, provide clinics with the funding.

Sadly, the pandemic has become a political albatross that has short sighted the B.C. government and B.C. Health. I believe both entities feel they will only be judged on how they heroically vanquished COVID-19. How’s that going so far?

B.C. Health has also shown extreme inflexibility when it comes to their health orders. Well every COVID-19 statistic will continue to be regurgitated hourly and daily on electronic media, the statistics resulting from the lack of access to timely medical care will sadly never come to light.

I believe we deserve better.

Andy Richards


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