If you have a stroke in Langford, you can be at Victoria General Hospital in about 10 minutes, receiving highly specialized medical care from on-site neurologists.
But what happens if you have a stroke in Port Renfrew, about 100 kilometres away or two hours by car, or you suffer a traumatic injury in Sooke that requires a higher level of care beyond what the local medical clinic can provide?
It’s a situation Premier John Horgan, who’s also the MLA for Langford-Juan de Fuca, wants fixed as he tackles the inequality of health care in the Sooke region and other rural areas of B.C.
“Right now, I would argue there isn’t equitable access to care,” Horgan said.
“The [Island Health] notion that Sooke is a bedroom community of Victoria must be discounted. It’s too far from here to VGH.”
For years, local politicians have bemoaned the lack of health-care services in the Sooke Region – from too few doctors to inadequate X-ray facilities. The lobbying dates back to 2005 when politicians tried to stimulate some progress in local health care.
Mayor Maja Tait formed the Sooke Primary Health Care Services Working Group shortly after the 2014 election and has worked tirelessly to lobby senior level of governments for better health care for the region.
Next month, the highly-anticipated Sooke Region Community Health Services Plan, put together by Island Health, the South Island Division of Family Practice, the District of Sooke and other health stakeholders, will be presented to the broader community at a public forum.
The plan is still in draft form, Tait said, and examines both the short and long term health care needs in Sooke.
For Horgan, Sooke’s biggest health care need is for a primary care facility. And he’s willing to take it a step farther by proposing a campus of care.
A campus of care is several buildings located on the same property that can provide health care to a broad spectrum of the community.
Horgan said Sooke is not only in need of doctors but other health-care professionals such as physiotherapists, X-ray technicians, dietitians, nurses, and social workers.
“Primary care is something I’ve talked to doctors, talked to local politicians about. Now I’m in a position to deliver on it,” Horgan said.