New West councillor speaks in support of UBCM health resolution
Jaimie McEvoy cited former councillor Lorrie Williams’ stroke as one example in the ongoing crisis
It was a busy week at the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) 2022 convention—the event that brings municipal politicians together to talk about the subjects important to their communities.
On Wednesday, health care was no exception as UBCM members endorsed three resolutions related to the topic. One included asking the provincial government to take urgent steps to ensure BC’s hospitals, emergency rooms, and ambulance services are available to everyone 24/7.
While the three resolutions were passed with little debate, New West city Coun. Jaimie McEvoy took the time to share how at least one New Westminster local has been impacted by the gaps in the system.
“My city has the unfortunate reality right now of being the home of a national news story on ambulance service, in which one councillor, Lorrie Williams, as some people here may know, was on a living room floor for 45 minutes, waiting for the ambulance to arrive,” McEvoy told the audience.
“There were people with her. There was a doctor…Lorrie is paralyzed on the left side, and it is possible that a lack of immediate response is partly responsible for that.”
News of Williams’ stroke was made public during a city council meeting on Monday, Aug. 29, when Coun. Chuck Puchmayr noted he’d visited Williams in the hospital. Williams was on city council for 16 years, vacating her seat after she chose not to run for re-election in 2018. She is also New Westminster’s 2019 Citizen of the Year.
McEvoy said he doesn’t want to see this happen to anyone else.
“This is a crisis, and it’s part of our role at the UBCM to encourage, cajole, and to work with the provincial government on issues that are important to our community,” he said.
McEvoy added he wants better access to numbers—and not just anecdotes, so that community leaders can do what they can to prevent these kinds of situations.
The two other health-related motions included asking the BC government to look at and implement alternative physician compensation models in lieu of the current fee-for-service option. The second motion asks the province to work with Doctors of BC and Divisions of Family Practice to help rebuild the family practice system.
While there were no publicized closures at Royal Columbian Hospital over the summer, there has been a spate of emergency room closures in other places like Clearwater. On the Island, Capital Daily previously reported Saanich Peninsula Hospital had proposed planned closures of its emergency department.
Hospital staff thought closing that ER from 1 to 7am would allow workers to be redirected to times during the day when 90% of patients are looking for ER care. The proposal in that case was denied.
The UBCM convention wrapped up on Friday, Sept. 16.
—With files from Shannon Waters