CARP BC Chief Advocacy and Communications Officer, Ramona Kaptyn, has been busy advocating for older adults on the West Coast.
Aligned with National CARP advocacy priorities, CARP BC is focusing in on a number of issues of particular urgency in BC, including a need for better healthcare.
CARP believes best-in-class vaccinations that protect older people against influenza, shingles and pneumonia are should be available consistently and equitably across Canada. Read more.
CARP BC is pushing the provincial/territorial government to fully fund high-dose flu vaccines, as well as the newest Shingles and Pneumonia vaccines. As well as funding it also needs to be easily accessible through doctor’s offices, pharmacies and other convenient locations.
Immunization saves more Canadian lives than any other form of health intervention, while reducing burden on our struggling health care system. Read More.
Long Term Care
At the end of May, CARP BC applauded the province’s promise to invest an additional $14 million in the EquipCare BC program for health, safety and quality improvements in publicly funded seniors’ long-term care (LTC) homes and assisted-living residences.
CARP also hopes this is just part of the $1.4 billion over 10 years to improve long-term care promised by the NDP in its re-election campaign in 2020. At that time, it also committed to hiring 7,000 new health-care workers for long term care homes, which to-date has not happened.
In the past few weeks, Health Minister Adrian Dix again reiterated the need for long-term care in locations across BC, noting exponential growth in the senior population and acknowledging that the province cannot accept acute-care hospitals becoming long-term care homes.
Often with age comes cancer, and Minister Dix has again announced the building of a new hospital with a cancer centre in Cloverdale, as well as a cancer care centre in Kamloops. Both are unlikely to be open until 2027. A further cancer care centre at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital has no specific investment or timeline attached.
In the meantime, cancer patients are being sent to the US for treatment.
Ramona has a lot of questions for the decision-makers.
“Where is the action? Why are doctors and other health care professionals from out-of-province not being fast-tracked and allowed to work in BC? Why is the promise of a new medical school at SFU the best answer we are given when its first student intake won’t be until September 2026? The joke going around is ‘If you need a doctor, call a taxi, there’s probably a physician sitting behind the wheel.”
There’s a lot to be done to improve health care in BC.
“CARP is going “full force” in advocating for health care improvements,” promises Ramona. She also adds that increasing membership is a key piece. “More membership gives us more clout with various levels of government. Members are voters.”