Letters to the Editor

Standard of care must be priority

To the Editor,

Re: Cancer patients seeing deterioration in level of care, Letters, May 1.

When will standard of care and cancer patients’ needs take priority over cost effectiveness and economies of scale?

Unfortunately, there are more than enough cancer patients in Nanaimo to have at least one full-time oncologist here. Island Health should be adding oncologist hours, not reducing them. Having an oncologist available locally every day of the week makes a world of difference to cancer patients and their families. Having been a regular visitor to the cancer clinic at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital, as a support person to both a close family member and also a colleague, I have experienced how vital it is to have local treatment available. What a difference it makes to be able to have loved ones with you, and to be able to go straight to your own home afterwards. Having to go to Victoria or elsewhere adds greatly to stress  – financially, emotionally, and otherwise – for cancer patients, and limits their access to much-needed personal support, since support people are often unable to make the journey with them.

The decision-makers at Island Health need to consider what they would want if they were battling cancer themselves, or what they would desire for their own loved ones.

Josephine McNeilly

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