LETTERS: Reasons for our wait times


Re: Two-year wait for MRI surprises patient, MLA, Nov. 25.


Re: Two-year wait for MRI surprises patient, MLA, Nov. 25.

The story in PAN about the lady being two years away from an MRI appointment at PAH was, to use a cliché, shocking but not surprising.

While our Canadian system has much to recommend it, it does have serious flaws. If it is to survive in something close to its current form, it does require some serious reform.

The main fault here – and in waiting lists in general – is the list is not based on health-care need but on discretionary budget decisions.

The political basis underpinning Dr. Brian Day’s legal battle to allow privatized health care (Debate over private healthcare in B.C. heads to court, Sept. 1) is that the public medicare system has some inefficiencies. His opposition’s position is based on a moral position about universal access, as opposed to monetary access.

In my humble view, the immoral part of the American system has been that, until Obamacare, there are people who cannot purchase health-care insurance at any price because of pre-existing health issues. The immoral part of the Canadian medicare system is that, as in the case of this MRI, a person cannot access needed health care that they have already paid for – i.e. taxes and MSP premiums.

I believe this failing must be addressed – and soon – as our system is facing an aging population with greater life expectancy than previous generations.

It is important to note that our current system was conceived in the 1960s, when demographics had been influenced by two world wars sandwiched around the great depression of the 1930s.

Bob Holden, White Rock

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That an individual patient is surprised by lengthy waits for an MRI is understandable. After all, how often does any individual have one?

That Surrey-White Rock MLA Gordon Hogg, or other government-side members – who incessantly chant “low taxes equals good government” – expresses surprise at such waits is disingenuous.

The wait times for MRI scans is a simple function of the number of MRI machines and the staff available to do the scans. A quality MRI suite can be had for $3-5 million and serves for many years. There is no shortage of people willing to be trained and employed in a satisfying career as a medical technician.

Premier Christy Clark’s pre-election ad tells us: “Controlling government spending is really the foundation, is the bedrock of what we’re trying to do… we’ve got to control government spending.”

Really? Who pays the price? The answer is, we all do!

Faster diagnoses usually result in lower overall treatment costs in addition to improving the quality of life for patients and their families.

Good government exists to provide needed services to and protection for its citizens, in as cost effective a manner as is possible.

It has often been said that “taxes are the price we pay for a civilized society.” Starving our public services to the point that people feel obliged to seek out more expensive for-profit solutions is an abuse of our citizens.

No surprise: it is not good government!

Jef Keighley, Surrey

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I read the story with regards to the story on MRI wait times taking so long in this province.

Are these machines being used 24-7? Granted there may be some down time for maintenance, but they should be running around the clock until the backlog has been cleared. If there is a lack of technicians, more should be trained/hired.

Given the option of having to wait two years for an MRI or having an appointment at 3 a.m. much sooner, I would gladly set my alarm for the early appointment, knowing I could get my quality of life back on track from an injury.

Harold Kiesewetter, Surrey



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