I recently came across the the Patient Voices Network - an interesting initiative that seeks to facilitate patient involvement in the health care system. I must applaud the government for reaching out to patient groups, and hope that it is doing so with an open ear. I am encouraged by the existence of this organization, and think it has tremendous potential to affect change in the health system of British Columbia - particularly if it sheds light on the reality patients face as they access the system for their health care needs.
It would appear that the network has a broad scope - and is aimed at all patients who interact with the healthcare system in British Columbia.
Personally, I am interested in the maternity care system in British Columbia - as it is the part of the system that I've had the most experience with in the last two years on a personal level - and over the next 6 months will continue to be the part of the system that I am most likely to be personally touched by. I hope this network will achieve an adequate representation of mothers from accross the childbirth spectrum - and would not/will not be swamped by those who are strong proponents of natural childbirth, as proponents of access to medical intervention in childbirth also need to be heard and represented.
I hope other mothers in British Columbia who have concerns about the maternity care system will also speak up and be heard. In particular, I hope that mainstream mothers who want access to epidural pain relief, who do not want to choose between the 'niceities' of homebirth and the safety of hospital birth, those who want to be able to exercise informed choice on all available childbirth options, and those who would like to see outcomes placed ahead of process, will also speak up. If not for yourself, then for the prospect that your children might be able to bear their children in a better and more balanced system.
So I have decided to park my general skepticism and cynicism at least momentarily and I've decided to learn more about this initiative, as a maternity care patient - I hope other BC mothers will do the same.