Wednesday, May 28, 2014

North Coast health issues raised at Legislature committee session

Topics ranging from concerns over levels of midwife availability on the North Coast, to the impact of BC Ferry cuts to medical health access on Haida Gwaii made up a good portion of a Legislature Committee session on Tuesday,

During the course of her speaking time in the Health Estimates Committee, North Coast MLA Jennifer rice raised the issues to Health Minister Dr. Terry Lake.

She began her review of Health issues on the North Coast and Haida Gwaii by addressing maternity issues across the region.

"In a study by the Rural Physicians of Canada, which looked at four rural northern B.C. communities, it was found that "maternity care can affect the physical, cultural, spiritual and economic makeup of a community" and that "it is not a service that can be removed or altered without having some effect on a variety of other sectors of the community."

My question is: what is the ministry doing to address the worrisome trends of a decrease in maternity care providers and an increase in birth rates in the northern B.C. communities?"

Minister Lake outlined a number of the initiatives regarding that issue that are currently ongoing,  referencing a government paper called "Primary Maternity Care, Moving Forward Together" as one such consultation.

Also among her discussion points for the Tuesday session was a number of questions on the theme of paramedic services to rural and remote communities.

"Local governments, regional districts and paramedics themselves have been calling for solutions to paramedic shortages in rural and remote communities, with new models of service delivery, such as the community paramedicine model that the minister mentioned earlier. [1425] Can the minister provide an update to the government's intentions when it comes to community paramedicine?"

The Health Minister provided a short review of the evolving nature of delivering those services to rural communities and some of the challenges that the government is finding in securing recruits for those regions. He further advised that the Health Ministry is working with Northern Health to address such concerns as those recently expressed both in Stewart and on Haida Gwaii.

On health concerns for Haida Gwaii, Ms. Rice also outlined the growing concerns there when it comes to issues related to recent cutbacks of BC Ferry service and the impact that those cuts are having on medical care on the Islands.

As part of her review of the medical concerns on Haida Gwaii, she read out a letter from a doctor on Haida Gwaii, which highlighted the nature of the transportation issues that Island residents face when trying to access further medical care in Prince Rupert and beyond.

That correspondence and a full account of Tuesday's Committee Session can be found from the Legislature Draft minutes, the Health aspects of Tuesday's discussion can be reviewed from the 1415 mark  to the 1510 mark of the timeline.

The Video Archive of the Committee Session can be found from the Index page of the Legislature, the video review of Tuesday's Committee session is listed as Committee A.

Ms. Rice's contribution to the discussion starts at the 35 minute mark and carries on through to the 93 minute mark.

For more items on developments at the BC Legislature see our archive page.

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