Specialists write open letter to Adrian Dix about B.C.'s 'crumbling' health-care system

Health Minister Adrian Dix at the annual UBCM convention in Whistler on Sept. 13, 2022.

A group of more than two dozen medical specialists has ripped Health Minister Adrian Dix in an open letter complaining they are watching their patients suffer and die on intractable and worsening waiting lists.

The 26 specialist doctors — led by Dr. Cassandra Lane Dielwart, an orthopedic surgeon in Kelowna — says the province’s “crumbling” health-care system is letting patients down, a million of whom are on wait lists that are only getting worse.

In the letter distributed Wednesday, the group calls on Dix to set up an urgent meeting and work co-operatively with the specialists to find solutions.

“Our entire health-care system is crumbling, but not enough is being done to improve specialist patient outcomes or shorten our overcrowded wait lists,” writes the group, which includes cardiologists, pediatricians, transplant surgeons and many other specialists.

“If we do not work together to find solutions, specialty care in this province is going to erode even further.”

The letter notes persistent challenges in recent years, compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic, mean “patients are getting sicker and dying on our wait lists.”

Despite the efforts of primary care providers, the letter says “urgent primary care centres and emergency departments are overwhelmed and can’t provide immediate access to specialists” — and the problem isn’t limited to delays for surgeries.

“Long surgical wait times are the most widely known, but the crisis in wait times extends to the entire breadth of specialist care,” it reads, offering a few examples out of “hundreds, if not thousands” of similar stories:

• A patient with sudden hearing loss who is permanently hearing impaired due to being forced to wait;

• “More than 16,000 people waiting for an echocardiogram in Vancouver Coastal Health alone”;

• Patients in Metro Vancouver and Vancouver Island waiting two to three months for an oncologist to see them after a new cancer diagnosis;

• A Northern Health respirologist, the only one in her area, forced to close her practice to new patients for the past two years as she catches up;

• And patients “waiting on tenter-hooks for weeks for their lab results and surgical pathology because of lengthy backlogs in our labs.”

The specialists say they’re writing on behalf of patients, many of whom “are often too ill to advocate for themselves. We need to stabilize and strengthen our specialty care infrastructure to support this vulnerable population.”

The doctors say they are “exhausted and demoralized” as they watch specialist care continue to decline.

“It is soul-destroying to be unable to provide the specialty care that B.C. patients need and deserve. We request a meeting with you emergently, and that is not a word we use lightly.”

Postmedia has reached out to Health Minister Adrian Dix for a response.

For more health news and content around diseases, conditions, wellness, healthy living, drugs, treatments and more, head to Healthing.ca – a member of the Postmedia Network.

NEWS RELATED

'SNL' Trolls Southwest — And The People Who Fly It

The “Saturday Night Live” cast took off on Southwest Airlines’ dismal performance over the winter holidays with gags about its antique computers, hand-written schedules and a one-eyed pilot. The sketch — in the form of a mock ad for the airline — boasted about Southwest’s new “premier lounge” — inside ...

View more: 'SNL' Trolls Southwest — And The People Who Fly It

Is Nikki Haley setting a ‘man-trap’ for Trump, Pompeo and other 2024 rivals?

Is Nikki Haley setting a ‘man-trap’ for Trump, Pompeo and other 2024 rivals? In a recent appearance on Fox News, Nikki Haley, the former South Carolina governor and former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, listened while host Sean Hannity listed some of the potential Republican candidates she might ...

View more: Is Nikki Haley setting a ‘man-trap’ for Trump, Pompeo and other 2024 rivals?

A Bull Market Is Coming: Here’s What I’m Buying to Prepare

A bull outlined against a field The stock market is off to a great start in 2023. The S&P 500, the TSX Composite Index and the NASDAQ all started off the year with positive gains, and there are signs that the gains will continue. Last year, central banks raised ...

View more: A Bull Market Is Coming: Here’s What I’m Buying to Prepare

Djokovic wins 1st set of Australian Open final vs Tsitsipas

Djokovic wins 1st set of Australian Open final vs Tsitsipas MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Novak Djokovic has won the opening set 6-3 against Stefanos Tsitsipas in the Australian Open men’s singles final on Sunday. Djokovic broke Tsitsipas’ serve in the fourth game of the opening set to take a ...

View more: Djokovic wins 1st set of Australian Open final vs Tsitsipas

Actress and former senator Viola Léger, best known as La Sagouine, dies at 92

Actress and former senator Viola Léger, best known as La Sagouine, dies at 92 Actress, teacher and former senator Viola Léger has died at the age of 92. A release from management company Le Grenier musique says Léger died Saturday in Dieppe, New Brunswick. Léger was best known for ...

View more: Actress and former senator Viola Léger, best known as La Sagouine, dies at 92

Like vinyl, but for photos: Why film cameras are back in focus

In an ever-increasing digital world where rarely an hour, let alone a day, goes by without gazing at a smartphone or tablet, some people are redeveloping their passion for a technology seemingly headed for extinction: the film camera. In recent years, the popularity of the devices has outstripped supply — driven largely ...

View more: Like vinyl, but for photos: Why film cameras are back in focus

‘Tidying Up’ Host Marie Kondo Explains Why She’s ‘Kind Of Given Up’ On Her Own ‘Messy’ Home

Marie Kondo Marie Kondo has become the go-to expert for decluttering one’s home, thanks to her Netflix series “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo” and “Sparking Joy with Marie Kondo”. During a recent webinar promoting her new book, Marie Kondo’s Kurashi at Home: How to Organize Your Space and Achieve ...

View more: ‘Tidying Up’ Host Marie Kondo Explains Why She’s ‘Kind Of Given Up’ On Her Own ‘Messy’ Home

NFL to review 'mechanics' of tackle that injured Cowboys' Tony Pollard, per report

The tackle that ended Dallas Cowboys running back Tony Pollard’s season is under review and could potentially lead to a rule change. The NFL’s Competition Committee will review the “mechanics of the tackle in Pollard’s case,” the Washington Post reported on Saturday. Pollard suffered a broken left fibula and high ankle sprain in Dallas’ 19-12 loss against ...

View more: NFL to review 'mechanics' of tackle that injured Cowboys' Tony Pollard, per report

Bus crash kills 39 people in Pakistan

One of Dubai's Most Luxurious New Hotels Opens Next Month — Here's a Sneak Peek Inside

Obamas ramp up calls for police reform after ‘vicious’ beating of Tyre Nichols

Vinyl fans eager for first pick at 98-year-old Newfoundland radio station's sale

Price of furnace oil on P.E.I. soars 14.3 cents a litre in 2 days

EDITORIAL: Supreme Court endorses ‘hypothetical’ cases

This painting was found in a farm shed covered in bird droppings. It sold for $3 million

How supermarket freezers are heating the planet, and how they could change

Letters: January 29, 2023

Saskatchewan tech companies receive high interest despite layoffs from Meta, Google, others

Got $3,000? 3 TSX Growth Stocks to Buy in January 2023

Your Horoscope This Week: 29th January to 4th February, 2023

OTHER NEWS