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To: BC Ministry of Health

Accessible health care

Vancouver Coastal Health has announced that all specialist referrals and surgeries for the Sunshine Coast will be referred to the Lower Mainland rather than Vancouver Island.  A specialist appointment requires a patient to travel for 10 hours to go to Vancouver Island and return the same day using public transit. That same trip using public transit to the Lower Mainland would be at least a 2 day trip due to the very limited public transit between the Saltry Bay and Langdale ferries.  For patients with a private vehicle there is little difference for the Vancouver Island trip but the trip to the Lower Mainland would be at least 14 hours provided the consultation/procedure can be completed in an hour with no delays.  Is this the appropriate treatment for someone with compromised health?   For emergencies the BC Ambulance service must engage 3 ambulances to get a patient to the Lower Mainland or fly the patient out by helicopter. Both options are expensive and draining on an already overburdened health care system.  The Upper Sunshine Coast has been using Vancouver Island Health services for quite some time with only one problem; they don’t get paid for their service. It would be more efficient to pay Vancouver Island Health rather than penalize the patients of the Upper Sunshine Coast. It is time the BC Ministry of Health moved the Upper Sunshine Coast health service from Vancouver Coastal Health to Vancouver Island Health. This bureaucratic adjustment would save money, time and lives.

Why is this important?

For residents of the Upper Sunshine Coast (from Saltry Bay to Lund including Powell River) this will mean a one way trip of a minimum of 6 hours with no guarantee that the ferries will run on schedule and have adequate space for medical travellers. There is very limited public transit (2-3 days per week, 1 trip per day) between the Saltry Bay ferry and the Langdale ferry so medical travellers without a private vehicle would need to stay overnight or longer to catch the one bus that connects the 2 ferries.  It is unclear if Vancouver Coastal Health will cover accommodations for those without a private vehicle.  Tell the BC Ministry of Health to move the health services of the Upper Sunshine Coast to Vancouver Island Health to ensure timely access to basic health services, responsible use of tax payer dollars and reduced demand on the understaffed BC Ambulance Service.


2024-06-15 15:46:03 -0400

50 signatures reached

2024-06-10 13:43:30 -0400

25 signatures reached

2024-06-09 11:17:55 -0400

10 signatures reached