Local health care gets a kick start

Ashcroft works on improving relations between Interior Health and local stakeholders.

Ashcroft is working on a plan that may see the Village and Interior Health working together to improve services at the Ashcroft hospital.

After a public presentation over the summer by representatives of Princeton’s health care community, the Ashcroft and District Healthcare Community Consultation Organizing Committee was formed.

Key to Princeton’s success was the work done by Dr. Barbara Pesut from UBC Okanagan. Pesut facilitated a health care consultation and helped the community work together for improved medical services.

Dr. Pesut took part in a consultation process in Ashcroft on Sept. 16 with invited representatives of local groups from Ashcroft, Cache Creek, Clinton and the surrounding areas, as well as the Bonaparte and Ashcroft Indian Bands.

Dr. Pesut’s report is still in its draft stage, but Organzing Committee member David Durksen says it is almost ready for public eyes.

He says it will first be presented to the Wellness and Health Action Committee which will create the action plan to move the project forward. Then the report is presented to the Villages and Band Councils. Durksen says it should be presented by the end of October.

At its Sept. 8 meeting, Ashcroft Council was asked to  participate in the “process” by discussing what they felt was working with the local system, and what wasn’t working.

At the meeting with Dr. Pesut, Durksen said afterwards that they found more things working than weren’t.

“We have two doctors committed to keeping the ER open,” said Coun. Jerry Fiddick at the Sept. 8 meeting.

“Community engagement around health care,” added Coun. Helen Kormendy.

“The rallies and criticism of IH wasn’t doing us any favours,” said Mayor Andy Anderson.

Coun. Alice Durksen felt where the system wasn’t working for Ashcroft was physician burnout  and people still using the ER when the should be making an appointment to see a doctor.

“The ER isn’t open 24 hours,” said Kormendy. “And mental health services for adults, need more hours.”

“The Physio Therapist is only here once a week, and only for patients,” said Fiddick. “Everyone else has to go into Kamloops.”

“It’s hard to get physicians approved by IH,” said Mayor Anderson. “There’s too many rungs on the bureaucratic ladder.”

Lastly, Council was asked for initiatives and ideas to improve the situation.

“Primary care would help the community and take load off doctors,” said Coun. Alice Durksen. “Better communication between IH and the community. Family practice, specialists coming on a schedule, more use of tele-help… We need support groups for various conditions (ie. Diabetes, heart, etc.).”

“Public health nurse needs to be restored to full time,” added Fiddick. “The trend lately to cut back.”

“There’s a bit of change coming with way nursing staff is going to function at the hospital,” said Anderson. “Maybe a nurse practitioner will change that.”

“We should look outside the traditional health care box,” said Kormendy. “Maybe Naturopaths – people using them may come to see doctors later for more serious ailments,” she said. “We need more supports for people using other methods.