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Northern Health fails on colon cancer screening

Our health-care system is supposed to be universal, but northerners get the short end of the stick

It’s very important to get screened for colon cancer and all an eligible person has to do is contact the B.C. Cancer Colon Screening Program directly to request a requisition form to obtain a home-use kit.

Oh no, wait, that only applies to all the health authorities in the province except Northern Health.

There is so much wrong with this, it’s hard to know where to start.

In the north, a patient has to get a referral from a doctor. Considering somewhere around a quarter of us do not have a family physician at all and many of those who do still experience problems getting an appointment, it’s unconscionable that something that does not require physician intervention anywhere else, requires physician intervention in the north.

Why, oh, why, for something so simple you can do it yourself at home, would you need a doctor referral?

Because Northern Health opted out of the program.

But wait, it gets much, much worse. Who did Northern Health let make the decision whether to opt out?

The doctors. The doctors, whom a million of us in the province don’t have access to and who get paid on a fee-per-visit basis, got to decide that we wouldn’t have access to a simple free service without them acting as intermediaries.

It’s unconscionable.

It’s also unconscionable the province would let the health authorities decide something like this.

There’s no way of knowing how much money it would save the province to give northerners access, but it is undoubtedly substantial.

Our health-care system is supposed to be universal, but once again, northerners get the short end of the stick.

This needs to change.