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First Nation says racism, doctor shortage persists in BC Interior

March 13, 2024

NationTalk: PrinceGeorgeNow – The Canadian Press – A British Columbia First Nation says racism in the health−care system persists despite efforts by the government and industry to combat the problem. 

The Tsilhqot’in National Government says in a statement that it met with officials from Interior Health, the Cariboo Regional District and the City of Williams Lake last week to address the issue. 

Tsilhqot’in Tribal Chair Joe Alphonse says racism within the local health system is limiting the Indigenous community’s access to care, and the problem is further exacerbated by a “dire shortage of doctors.”

The nation’s statement says the doctor shortage remains at Cariboo Memorial Hospital, and “racism at the hospital is still happening.”

<who> Photo credit: Canadian Press </who> Joe Alphonse.” src=””></p>

<p><em>Photo credit: Canadian Press </em><br>Joe Alphonse.</p>

<p>In November 2020, the BC government released the report which found that “stereotyping, prejudice and racist treatment” were common experiences for Indigenous people seeking health care, and it recommended policy and legislation changes to protect patients. </p>

<p>The BC Health Ministry did not immediately issue a comment in response to the statement.</p>

<p>The Tsilhqot’in Nation says the calls for action from the report remain unaddressed. </p>

<p>“Racism at the hospital is still happening — this meeting was an opportunity to address these issues,” Alphonse says. “We need to have consistent communication with the Interior Health Board to make sure that voices are heard and issues are dealt with appropriately.”</p>

<p>Alphonse says in the statement that the Nation is “concerned about the reason for doctors leaving” the hospital and have asked to work with health authorities to attract and retain “culturally sensitive” physicians.</p>

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