Forum addresses delivery of health services

Columnist Barb Park discusses the recent Mount Waddington Health Network Forum.

The Mount Waddington Health Network Forum, held at the Civic Centre in Port Hardy Nov. 5, provided an opportunity to exchange ideas, but not in a benign way. Dynamism is in the air as people risk the status quo to pursue a better quality of life for those living in the region. The event builds on a similar forum spearheaded by Bev Parnham and others two years ago, to assess and address health-related issues.

The Health Network’s mandate is to provide a venue for cross-fertilization of ideas that promote health initiatives responsive to local needs. The Forum served that purpose well. Discussion centred on access to services, including transportation, tele-health, and primary health care.

Novel ideas around health service delivery include whether keeping all hospitals staffed 24/7 makes sense. What does it mean to deliver services regionally? An up-to-date assessment of what is being delivered and what gaps still exist made the discussions relevant and useful. Initiatives to support better access were discussed and those in attendance provided feedback on what they feel is working and not working in each area.

Mount Waddington needs to regard itself as one community in order to streamline services and be cost effective, in terms of dollars, and in terms of medical practitioners, who are being stretched in a way that is not sustainable. This is the view of some who are working on the front lines, and the forum allowed these ideas to come forward and advance the discussion of people who live here.

The mix of those attending included the newly-appointed BC Seniors Advocate, Isobel MacKenzie, whose mandate is to work independently of government to gather information about how seniors’ health and housing needs are being met, and to make recommendations that will allow service delivery models to enhance quality of life for seniors. MacKenzie thinks in terms of equity in province-wide systems, and the dialogue gave her an opportunity to understand what is unique about the North island. She sees a great disparity in services, such as how home care is delivered in Victoria, where she lives, compared to deliver in this region.

Others in attendance included Patti Murphy from the Division of Family Practice, April Struthers, who has worked with the Community Response Network in the Region, Jody Olsson, from the provincial Better at Homes program office, Medical Health Officer Dr. Charmaine Enns, Dr. David Whittaker, First Nations reps from the Kwakiutl, ‘Namgis and Gwa’sala-’Nakwaxda’xw Nations, residents of Port Alice, Alert Bay, and Sointula, who work and volunteer to address social determinants of health, the Port Hardy and Port McNeill Hospital Auxiliary Societies, Port Alice Health Forum, Island Health, local government, naturopathic services, local churches, social service organizations, and Regional Transit, in other words, a broad cross-section of people.

A summary report from the panel and from the World Café breakout discussion groups will be produced in the coming weeks and posted on the Mount Waddington Health Network web site; www.mountwaddingtonhealthnetwork.com, along with pictures from the day.

Thanks to all those who contributed to the Mount Waddington Health Network forum and the seniors advocate tour of the area.

Barb Park is coordinator of the Mount Waddington Health Network, which advocates for North Islanders across a spectrum of health and social services issues. info@mountwaddingtonhealthnetwork.com or 250-230-1238.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

North Island College president to retire next year

North Island College’s president and CEO has officially announced his plans to… Continue reading

Canadian Ferry Association cautions against politicizing BC Ferry operations

Reasonable safety, not politicized safety way to go, Canadian Ferry Association says

Scarlet Ibis sale falls through

Beloved pub and restaurant in Holberg, B.C. is back with previous owner

Fishing so far has been great this season in the north Island

‘I can’t think of a better way to spend Canada Day. This year I got to fish with two amazing guests’

UPDATE: Search suspended for missing Vancouver Island hiker

Searchers scoured Strathcona Park near Gold River for experienced 65-year-old on 40-kilometre trek

The pandemic is widening Canada’s workplace gender gap

Gender pay gap is incentivizing fathers to work while mothers watch children, a new B.C. study has found

Ex-Okanagan Mountie forfeits 20 days’ pay after sexual misconduct review

A former Vernon RCMP constable made sexual comments, grabbed genitals of male officer in two incidents 10 years ago

Man found dead on Okanagan trail identified as Hollywood actor

GoFundMe campaign launched for man found dead at summit of Spion Kop

3 people dead in Prince George motel fire

Fire personnel believe the blaze was suspicious although investigation in early stages

B.C. sets terms to review police, mental health, race relations

MLAs to recommend Police Act changes by May 2021

Feds announce $8.3M to deal with ‘ghost’ fishing gear in B.C. waters

Ghost gear accounts for up to 70 per cent of all macro-plastics in the ocean by weight

Almost 99% less land in B.C. burned this year compared to 2018

2018 was the worst year on record for wildfires

B.C. orders Coastal GasLink to stop pipeline construction near protected wetlands

The 670-kilometre pipeline is planned to transport natural gas from northeast B.C. to Kitimat

Most Read