Reinstate Plastic Surgeon, Dr. Andre deGreef, at KBRH, Trail, B.C.
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Reinstate Plastic Surgeon Dr Andre deGreef at KBRH, Trail BC
Many people in the Kootenay Boundary area are puzzled by the actions of Interior Health in regards to the loss of doctors and specialists providing health care in the Kootenays. We are now in the position of losing Dr. Andre deGreef, a plastic surgeon specialist with a sub specialty in Ear, Nose and Throat even though he would like to resume practice at Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital (KBRH). This is a huge loss of service. In November 2016, Interior Health publicly announced a need for two plastic specialists to service the area which ranges from Invermere to Rock Creek. A plastic surgeon was hired. There was some licensing confusion with Dr. Andre deGreef, but IH said that if this was cleared up, Dr. deGreef would be welcomed back with open arms. Much to public surprise and dismay, Interior Health changed their mind and have left the area without a second plastic surgeon! Dr. deGreef has a secondary specialty in Ear, Nose and Throat and loss of his assistance to Dr. Cook has resulted in longer ENT wait list, no 24/7 coverage or back up for Dr. Cook. Dr. deGreef practiced in this area for 14 years and did everything under the sun. He met the needs of the large area population and developed a great rapport with his patients, putting them at ease in difficult and frightening situations. There are many important issues which a plastic surgeon addresses - these include dealing with cancerous skin lesions – biopsies, cancerous removals and reconstruction. Dr. deGreef also met the demands for reconstruction of many types of injuries – hands, faces and feet. Unfortunately, many of these surgeries are now being referred out of our local area and many biopsies /diagnosis are being done by the GPs who may or may not have the required experience and knowledge. Skin issue referrals are also being sent to dermatologists in either Kelowna or Calgary.
Minister Dix & Interior Health can easily meet our needs by providing Dr. Andre deGreef with operating room time at KBRH. This can improve two specialties – Plastic Surgery and Ear, Nose and Throat. We need our specialists here!
Out-of-town referrals cause difficulty due to the unique geography here that makes travel difficult for half the year or more. It creates undue hardship - physically, emotionally and financially for families forced to travel with their vulnerable youth and elderly family members.
The Society for Protection and Care of Seniors has been active in this area since there were many difficulties with health care in the early 2000’s. There are further details and updates on our website (spcstrail.weebly.com). Our group circulated a written petition, received over 1200 signatures and sent it to IH CEO Chris Mazurkewich, MLA Katrine Conroy and several other IH personnel. There have been numerous letters of support sent - thru MLA Katrine Conroy’s office. The limited response received to date from IH has been confused and appears to be inaccurate and is unacceptable to the taxpayers of the Kootenay Boundary area.
Doctors and specialists are declining, leaving those still here overbooked, overworked and without relief. This in a time when 33 percent of the population are expected to require increased healthcare! The public in this area deserve better than this.
All Health Minister Dix needs to do is ensure that IH gives Dr. Andre deGreef operating room time at Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital. PLEASE hear us!
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