Letters to the Editor

Cancer patients seeing deterioration in level of care

To the Editor,

Re: Patients call for better cancer care, April 24.

Thank you for providing some facts regarding the changes in cancer care in our communities north of the Malahat.

Now that Dr. Carole Most has only one day a week in Nanaimo the choices for patients are: wait much longer for an appointment, drive to Victoria or have a video chat. Patients and volunteers tell us that none of these new options are appropriate; to deny that there is an erosion of service in Nanaimo shows a shameless heartlessness on the part of the decision-makers.

Current patients are already facing huge battles; why must they struggle with a system that is meant to provide care and support? Why can’t another medical oncologist be hired?

I sincerely hope that the second-to-last paragraph of this article is not a direct quote from the B.C. Cancer Agency.  Acknowledging by e-mail that for cancer patients “change can be upsetting”  is a miserly and mean slap in the face to people who deserve our respect, compassion and especially our support.

Caprice Soames
via e-mail

 

To the Editor,

Re: Patients call for better cancer care, April 24.

Many thanks to reporter Tamara Cunningham for her excellent article on the erosion of the cancer clinic at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital. I am happy to see someone shedding light on what is happening there.

It is a shame that we had our own very efficient oncologist right at the hospital until the authorities thought she would be better served at the Victoria clinic. For the B.C. Cancer Agency to say that the shuffle has not affected cancer care for Nanaimo/upper Island patients, is simply not true. The agency should perhaps sit in the chemotherapy room and have a few discussions with the patients; it might come to think differently.

Donna Newall
Nanoose Bay

 

To the Editor,

Re: Patients call for better cancer care, April 24.

While one may argue for the need for specialized treatment facilities in Nanaimo and other locations in the north, it is more cost effective for Island Health to centralize these services largely due to economies of scale. As the health authority centralizes services, it behooves them to also compensate patients for out-of-town expenses.

Oncology-related CT scans, echo-cardiograms, frequent chemotherapy blood tests, and progress reviews all require the patient to pay for parking; these expenses add up.

The Canadian Cancer Society sponsors a lodge for out-of-town patients to receive subsidized housing and food for patients while they are receiving treatment in Victoria. Together with a spouse, the total patient out-of-pocket cost for four weeks of radiation is over $2,000.

Besides looking at its own budget efficiency, the health authority ought to have a social responsibility to also address the costs incurred by patients who must travel to Victoria for treatment.

Anthonie den Boef
Nanoose Bay

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