The Need: Easing concerns about access to healthcare

Most of us try to do the right things to stay healthy. Whatever our age, when we’re healthy, we can pursue our dreams and our purpose. When we’re healthy we’re able to make a difference for our family, our friends, our community.

But inevitably, accidents or illnesses will interrupt our routines and try to defeat us. Living on an island increases the challenges of taking care of ourselves and our loved ones.

Forty-one per cent of us feel that our health is at risk because we live on Bowen. Approximately 51% of us have delayed seeking medical care because services are not available on Bowen. And nearly half of us who delayed seeking care, feel the delay made our problem worse.

“My husband has had to wait until he could take time away from work to seek care because he couldn’t get his needs met on the weekend on the island.”

“Inconvenience of going off Bowen to get diagnosis/treatment has meant that I have waited some times to see if an infection or ailment is going to get worse before going off island.”

These statistics and experiences were captured in a Bowen Health Needs Assessment Survey conducted in 2015 by the Bowen Island Health Centre Society. The Society’s survey demonstrated that Bowen residents:

  • Are concerned about the lack of healthcare services on-island,
  • Are frustrated at the many barriers to getting the healthcare services they need,
  • Worry their health may be at risk because of where they live,
  • Want to age-in-place on Bowen Island,
  • Want better access to and more health care services on Bowen.

The Fraser Institute reports that in 2015, Canada had approximately 1.3 general practitioners per 1,000 population. Bowen’s population of 4,000 is currently served by the equivalent of only one full-time physician on-island. With no urgent care available, Bowen’s lack of health care services is a major problem for our close-knit community.

In addition to the Bowen Health Needs Assessment Survey, health care on Bowen has been identified as a priority for Bowen in the last two Vital Conversations conducted by the Bowen Island Community Foundation.  Also, in the 2017 workshop held by the Municipality regarding the use of Bowen’s community lands, participants strongly believed that a health centre facility would be an excellent use of part of these lands.

Without access to health care when we need it, we can’t feel totally safe and secure and can’t fully enjoy this magical place we call home.

The Research