For decades, patient transport has been a constant challenge in British Columbia (BC). Problems with transport have been identified as a significant disincentive for retention of rural physicians. The underlying issue is the effect on access to appropriate care for rural patients and the stress that devolves onto rural
healthcare teams when they are unable to facilitate timely transport to definitive care. The Transport initiative advocates for improved patient transport in BC to improve health outcomes.
Making a Difference
No one knows the issues around patient transport—which has long been a challenge in British Columbia—more than Dr. Trina Larsen Soles, a general practitioner in Golden, BC, with over 30 years of experience, and RCCbc’s lead for Transport.
“Transport significantly impacts access to appropriate care for rural patients,” explains Dr. Larsen Soles. “And when rural health teams are unable to facilitate timely transport to definitive care for their patients, it is incredibly stressful and demoralizing. In fact, transport is often a significant disincentive for rural physician retention.”
Through their advocacy, Dr. Larsen Soles and her team have made great strides to improve transport for rural and remote patients in British Columbia. As they look to the coming year, they vow to continue this fight by implementing their work through the Partnership table, which was delayed this year due to pandemic surges and staffing changes at the Provincial Health Services Authority.
“We also hope to address strategic planning around solutions for rural transport issues, says Dr. Larsen Soles. “And to liaise with the group planning a national summit on rural patient transport in Fall 2022.”