Healthcare checkup

Port Hardy's mayor meets with Island Health representatives to discuss local projects.

PORT HARDY—Mayor Bev Parnham met with board members of Island Health (formerly Vancouver Island Heath Authority) last week to discuss the proposed local Integrated Primary Care facilities.

The mayor called the discussions “very positive,” and came away somewhat reassured about the board’s commitment to the projects.

“They felt very strongly that we’re on the right path to creating a model for rural healthcare,” she said.

The Mayor and Local Working Group had questioned Island Health’s commitment last month due to the process stagnating somewhat and in light of suggestions from board members that planned revisions to the healthcare model could be enacted independently of an integrated facility.

Since then, a posted Notice of Intent to purchase land for an interim facility and last week’s meeting have helped clear the air as Island Health reaffirms its commitment to the proposed changes.

“It’s very evident that they understand our needs,” said Mayor Parnham. “I think it’s important for us to stay on their radar.”

The new facility would form the heart of a shakeup to the healthcare model, allowing better communication between hospital staff and assigning ‘teams’ of healthcare professionals to a patient.

The model draws inspiration from the Nuka model in Alaska and the Oceanside Health Centre in Parksville, and proponents are striving for it to be at the forefront of rural healthcare delivery.

The planned changes have been credited as a factor in recent hires and the increased interest shown by physicians and other health professionals towards the region.

Island Health is looking at a variety of funding options for the facility and hopes to have the interim modular building in place in five months, with the permanent facility to be included in the 2014/15 budget.