“Very encouraging” is how Ron Hood, Secretary of the Wellness and Health Action Coalition (WHAC), describes their meeting with Interior Health’s CEO Chris Mazurkewich last week.
For the last two years, WHAC has been working to improve the healthcare situation in Ashcroft and the surrounding area. The arrival of two new physicians in March was cause for celebration, and Hood says that last week’s meeting has convinced the group they’re on the right track.
“It confirmed out belief that we have all our ducks in a row for a different approach to rural healthcare delivery,” he says. “And a different approach is being looked for, as the old approach isn’t working.”
Hood acknowledges that there aren’t enough doctors to go around, but says that a nurse practitioner for the area is still on the drawing board. However, he notes that there are protocols as to where a nurse practitioner can operate and what they can do, and that doesn’t always match the needs of clients.
He adds that WHAC has told the Ministry of Health that the closure of rural hospitals such as Ashcroft, or the curtailing of emergency hours there, “doesn’t do city clinics any favours, by bogging them down with rural clients. Underutilized assets in rural communities could reduce the pressure on urban hospitals.”
Hood says that the primary care model WHAC is looking for will “prevent people from taking the next step: catch things earlier, and use different types of medical personnel for different conditions.
“Mr. Mazurkewich recognizes the issues we have, and that’s encouraging.”