Health system a mixed bag

My own experience with the health system has been a mixture of positive and negative

I write, in part, in response to those letters positive and negative about hospital experiences and also to relate my own experience in the medical services.

My own experience has been a mixture of positive and negative. My first doctor was chosen for me by my parents and really I remember little of him but my impression from others’ experiences is such that I wonder if the doctor should’ve been allowed to practice at all or if at some point he should’ve been recommended for early retirement.

The second doctor, this time a female, I can barely recall though I was much older when we first started going to her. My opinion of her is so little that I have nothing to share though she may well be or have been a competent doctor.

The next doctor apparently had a very bad “bedside manner” when it came to my mom and I didn’t find him particularly helpful or sympathetic, but ah well, he apparently left this world years ago and he was the very last doctor that I officially had.

At some point, I left my parents’ home and set out into the world and due to my work, among other reasons, I never did find another doctor to replace the last one that my parents and I shared. For me, the medical system became little more than an insurance scheme that was draining what little money I earned (it wasn’t the only culprit but one of the more annoying ones due to the billing style of the government and the plan bureaucrats).

I ended up failing to be fully covered (apparently that can’t happen?) or felt that I was due to my inability to keep up payments as well as the total failure of the bureaucrats to enquire as to why I was late on payments or if I needed help.

My “lack of coverage” only changed recently and only through the help and intervention of others. Now, I qualify for coverage without being billed, since my relatively low income qualifies me for such a “boon”.

It seems to me though that the medical services and the government have utterly failed in ensuring that B.C. residents are fully aware of their rights and/or privileges within that system. Oh yes, I could have enquired, however, having dealt with bureaucrats before and also going through a lot of different challenges at that time, I didn’t and so that is my failure.

Having come up to the Okanagan, I now have a doctor again and have had help through other medical services. Is the Okanagan better and less impersonal than the Lower Mainland? In some ways yes, in other ways no.

My present doctor has been personable but also has given the impression of running a “conveyor belt” clinic. Once when I was put on the system for some medical evaluation, I was left in the dark by the doctor and by the hospital.

A more recent time I was in a process of checking out a medical concern, the doctor advised me another doctor would be consulting with me. I heard nothing more. I called my doctor, asking for the information for that doctor, and at some point was hung up on. I contacted the other doctor and heard right back from them. I went in for an appointment, they were to contact the hospital and I was in the dark again.

Finally my examination time came — I messed up by failing to arrive at the correct time. To the credit of the hospital, they let me come and do the procedure rather than rebooking, the nursing and other staff were basically polite and helpful. It was a horrible procedure for me to go through (still having the vanity of youth), being poked and having to prepare for a CT exam with all that this procedure entails.

Anyway, this is my mix of good and bad in the health system — though I could share a lot more.

Patrick Longworth


Okanagan Falls