THE BC Liberals on International Women’s Day raised serious concerns about the state of women’s health care in B.C. and the need for immediate action to address health care inequality around the province.
“There’s no question that our health care system is in crisis and it’s becoming clear that women and gender-diverse people are being disproportionately impacted by the collapsing system,” said Shirley Bond, BC Liberal Critic for Health. “From a lack of maternity services throughout the province, to gynecological cancer screening wait times and medical imaging delays, and a growing number of stories of women going through horrific experiences in our medical system, action is long overdue. This government needs to ensure that women in British Columbia, no matter where they live, have the top quality health care support they need and deserve.”
Throughout the province, there is a shortage of OBGYNs and midwives, increasing maternity clinic closures, and frequent maternity ward diversions. The turnaround time for cervical cancer screening has been extended to 16-18 weeks, and medical imaging wait times are growing, impacting the diagnosis and treatment of diseases like breast cancer. B.C. has the fewest gynecological oncologists of any province in Canada, and recently a Langley woman lost three litres of blood while waiting in a hospital hallway for medical care after a miscarriage.
“A true commitment to gender equality requires more than saying the right words,” said Renee Merrifield, BC Liberal Critic for Gender Equity and Inclusion. “It requires meaningful action to not just ensure that women and gender-diverse people have full opportunity to participate in society, but also that they have their most basic needs met. But across B.C. right now, so many women are not getting equal access to basic, foundational, life-saving health care. It’s unacceptable to see women’s health continually treated as if it’s a lower priority. Women’s pain is real, their health is just as important and action is desperately needed to ensure that all women, and particularly women of colour, have access to the care they need. It’s time for a comprehensive provincial strategy to address women’s health issues and ensure that no one is left to fall through the cracks.”
Backgrounder: Examples Of Failures On Women’s Health