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FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — Peace River North MLA Dan Davies said he didn’t mean to get emotional at the B.C. legislature while recounting a Fort St. John man’s story with cancer.
Davies and two other MLAs shared stories of residents impacted by cancer in their ridings in the Legislative Assembly on March 2nd.
Davies told the story of a local man named Morris, who had been placed on a wait list for ten months due to intestinal blockages. Once he received surgery, it was discovered that cancer had been growing in his intestines for ten months.
According to Davies, Morris has been waiting ten weeks to receive pathology reports, a specific diagnosis, and a treatment plan.
“Can the premier finally take responsibility for this catastrophic failure in our healthcare system under his watch and give Morris’ family the treatment that he needs?” Davies asked.
When Davies returned to Fort St. John, he told Energeticcity.ca that he didn’t mean to get emotional during Morris’ story, but it was personal to him and his staff.
“We started working with him when the intestinal blockage happened,” Davies elaborated.
“He was on that waitlist, and then, of course, it’s now become much worse as it’s now a cancer diagnosis, and he’s now put back onto another waiting list.”
According to Northern Health’s service plan for 2021-2023, one of the group’s objectives is to “provide timely access to appropriate surgical procedures.”
“Every effort will be made by Northern Health to achieve the goals of surgical renewal,” said Northern Health.
These objectives are supported by a 2022 report from the B.C. government that states “almost every surgery” that was postponed due to the pandemic had been completed.
“Prior to COVID-19, we had about 92,000 people on wait lists, and we actually reduced the number of people on the wait list in a pandemic,” said Minister of Health Adrian Dix. “This is breathtaking, this kind of achievement of the healthcare system.”
Davies also brought up how critical these local stories were, considering the closest cancer treatment centre to Fort St. John is in Prince George.
“To get cancer treatment, we gotta go to Prince George. So you’ve added that extra burden of the travel, the nights in hotels, the everything else onto it,” Davies said.
“But we’re not even getting that, we’re not even the quick access to the cancer centre in Prince George.”
Davies also mentioned that Dix did speak with Davies privately after the assembly to discuss Morris’ specific case.
“He is looking into the matter personally. In fact, I believe they’ve reached out to the office here to look at how they can help and see if a mistake was made,” Davies said.
When asked if he thought the $270 million put aside in the province’s budget for expanding cancer care would help at all, Davies said the results were what really mattered when it comes to healthcare.
“Are the results better? Can you honestly say that healthcare has improved dramatically in the last seven years? Nobody can say that. Not even the government,” Davies said.
“John Horgan said last year, our medical system is crumbling. So you recognize it. You know it’s not just a matter of throwing money. You need to do something. Something needs to change structurally in our system.”
Last year, Energeticcity.ca began an investigative series on the healthcare system in northeast B.C. titled Code Grey.
With files from The Canadian Press
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