Health care resolution a long way off

Health care still an issue for Port Hardy residents.

Dear editor,

Since moving to Port Hardy in May 2010, I have been following the matter of poor medical services with much interest. Thanks to the multiple levels of government agencies involved any resolution seems years off.

I think we lack strong local leadership to resolve some of the issues. I was hopeful our mayor was going to take the lead when a year ago she conveined an “emergency meeting” to attack the problem. Alas, we ended up with a committee to study the problem. This spring the committee sent its report to VIHA. They, of course, took it under advisement.

At the recent forum, VIHA acknowledged the points in the study were worthy of action— but at least two years would be needed to implement them. I note that the Gazette’s recent survey shows by 71% that the general population of Port Hardy feels that no action will be forthcoming. Back to my earlier point; our mayor should take the initiative and follow through on her pre-election promise to deal with this urgent problem.

I have also been considering this matter from another point of view. Does Port Hardy need more medical infastructure? Our population is declining at a rapid rate and the future does not look great. It is trapped with providing services- medical and otherwise- to many consumers who do not contribute to the tax base or provide funds to support the District’s infastructure.

Maybe other political structures should be taking on the challenge. If we were servicing only Port Hardy residents would two doctors be enough? Do we need a large hospital when there is another close by in Port McNeill?

Our unique location makes us the service centre to other communities for which we seem to feel responsible. I think it’s time that those communities that surround Port Hardy step up to the table and take responsibility for their fair share of resolving this problem. They include, but are not limited to, the First Nations villages, Coal Harbour, Port Alice, Fish Camps, Logging communities and those areas reached by ferry services. The problem is not Port Hardy’s exclusively, others need to come to the table.

Alan Wickens

Port Hardy