Recruiting and keeping health care providers; Reversing centralization of services to urban areas; Caring for seniors so they can remain here; and Finding local expertise to work with Interior Health in finding solutions.
These were the key issues facing local health care according to a report commissioned by the Wellness Health Action Committee and presented to Ashcroft Council at the Oct. 27 meeting.
The committee is attempting to follow a similar path that the community of Princeton did in healing its health care system. To that end, they hosted a community consultation in September and engaged Barbara Pesut, Canada Research Chair, Health, Ethics and Diversity, UBC Okanagan Campus to facilitate it and write a report.
The next step is to form an action plan based on the report’s findings.
“It’s going to take a lot of people and a lot of expertise to make this action plan work,” committee member Ron Hood told Council.
“The first thing we’ll be doing is meeting with Bernie Easson of Interior Health and working out who the key people in IH are,” said Dave Durksen, another committee member. “We will be drawing people from the community after that.”
During the consultation, issues of transportation between home and Kamloops came up frequently, not enough time allowed with doctor visits or hospital stays and medical attendants unfamiliar with neighbourhoods.
Durksen said they would like to reconfigure the family practice offices at the hospital to accommodate other practitioners.
“We’re hoping for two more doctors and two nurse practitioners,” he said.
The space is there, he said, but they need permission and planning.
Durksen said he hoped they would be recruiting nurses and lab techs as well, who would be residents of the community. He said a primary care clinic would allow people to come and access physio therapy, counselling, and lots of group work.
Working with the nearby First Nations clinics and Clinton, he said, we could probably support four to five nurse practitioners in the area.
Durksen said it was also possible that local health care boards may be returning to communities, as the Island Health Authority has been setting some up.