Letter: Interior Health performs primarily behind closed doors

Appears Interior Health offers up no issues of consequence for public scrutiny.

To the editor:

I attended the Interior Health board public meeting held in Kelowna on May 31. As far as I could tell I was the only member of the general public in attendance. There appeared to be no representative from the media. On arrival I was not provided with an agenda nor any supporting documentation including any financial statements. Apparently, prior to the public meeting the board had convened an in camera session which is normally held to discuss confidential material such as personal matters.

Apart from three presentations one on palliative care, a second on drug overdose and a third by video conference on accountability in hospital emergency rooms all other items were confidential. Consequentially, we do not know anything as to the continuing operations of the board. The board is responsible for the expenditure of millions of dollars including federal transfers, provincial and municipal taxes, health care premiums and other revenue. As no financial statements were made available we have no idea as to where in the region the allocation of funds by the provincial government are being spent. So much for the principles

Of interest to the community would have been some discussion about the situation in the emergency rooms throughout the region as we are aware of the long waits for attention and the line ups in the hallways some times for many hours and the situation is likely to deteriorate in the future. As we know, the availability of family physicians is a problem resulting in walk-in clinics where the wait time can be considerable and sometimes denial of access. This results in additional visits to the hospitals for what is probably non emergency care.

As an aside, one of the presenters told me that she has been in Kelowna for three years and has yet to find a family physician. Another area of interest is that we are an aging population with a wave of dementia and Alzheimer patients requiring care in the future with dementia occurring at a younger age. Are there plans being formulated to cover this situation?

From a financial viewpoint, is the region being adequately funded and are the capital projects on time and on budget and are the various system development projects being satisfactorily implemented on time and on budget.

No questions were solicited by the chair other than to board members and few questions were posed from the directors as no doubt they were discussed at the ‘in camera’ meeting. Again so much for transparency and accountability. Perhaps the Interior Health region is too widely dispersed and should be reviewed for the practicality of governance and management of the region.

Bryan Crossfield, Kelowna