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B.C.’s health-care system like ‘third-world country’: MLA

Conservative Party of BC MLA Bruce Banman is calling on the provincial government to do something to address cracks in the health-care system, citing his daughter’s recent stay at a Fraser Valley Hospital.

Last month, Banman says his daughter was admitted to Abbotsford Regional Hospital with, what he describes, as a life-threatening medical issue — she was there for several weeks. He says he was shocked the hallways were clogged with patients on stretchers.

“I was reminded of a third-world country. I was also shocked to hear that her bathroom was being used by the very same patients in the hallways. On another visit, there was human feces on the floor of the bathroom in her unit, and had been there for hours and hours.”

He says he was told the bathroom wasn’t being cleaned because there wasn’t enough staff.

“I even considered cleaning the bathroom myself. My question to the health minister is, should patients and their families be expected to quite literally clean up after this NDP’s government health-care staffing crisis?”

Banman says he spoke to nurses and doctors on the frontlines and stresses everyone is too scared to speak up.

“They expressed their deep concerns to me about the state of chaos within our current health-care system. The single thing they made me promise was not to use their names if I brought their concerns forward. They were genuinely concerned of retribution and retaliation.”

Banman is calling on the provincial government to create an open forum so doctors, nurses, and the public can share with the government what’s wrong with the health-care system without fear of consequence.

“Clearly, this has become a toxic work environment,” Banman said.

Health Minister Adrian Dix did not commit to the idea, instead, saying that while things aren’t great, he claims things are improving.

“We’ve added 38,000 people net to our health-care system since I’ve been minister of health and I’ve met with people, including a day of meetings at Abbotsford Regional Hospital, where I say that to them and we all agree, it doesn’t feel that way,” he said.

He goes on to say the province has repatriated contracts for those responsible for cleaning and feeding those in a hospital.

“People in those sectors were being paid poverty wages from 2002 … to do that work. I am very committed to Abbotsford Regional Hospital and working with the staff there.”

CityNews has done extensive reporting on the issues plaguing ARH in the last couple of weeks.

The Fraser Health Authority did issue a statement saying, in part, that its “focus is the health, well-being, and safety of all people who come to us for care. Every hospital visit is important to us, regardless of whether we are serving higher or lower volumes of patients.”

If you would like to share your health-care experience with CityNews, please reach out to Sonia Aslam.

With files from Raynaldo Suarez

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