|Councillor Barry Cunningham raised some concerns over the current level
of medical services in Prince Rupert and some fears for the future
The topic of Health Care on the North Coast made for some commentary from Councillor Barry Cunningham on Monday evening, with the Council member indicating he would like to see the surrounding villages be brought into the collective to work together to reinforce the level of health care at Prince Rupert Regional Hospital and in the city.
Mr. Cunningham framed his request by seeking terms of reference for a Coastal Communities Health Committee to speak out for the community and reinforce the need to hold on to what is here and to expand the level of service to the region.
"It's just that were getting left behind here on certain health issues and I think with the villages and us we've got to start to raise our voices a little more and being heard on things like dialysis, ophthalmology and things like that" -- Councillor Barry Cunningham
As things turned out, and as Councillor Blair Mirau reminded them, there was an instrument already in place at Council towards a Health Committee, with council then making plans to amend the terms of their own committee to include those of including the surrounding community.
The Mayor made note of the upcoming redesign Rupert process that is scheduled for a public presentation on December 12th and the new plan it will present for the community.
With Mr. Brain noting how there are many stakeholders involved in the planning and how health care is a factor for consideration for all communities in the region work together to ensure that we are getting the health services that it needs, adding that Northern Health is part of the redesign Rupert process and has a good working relationship with the city.
Mayor Brain also noted how such a formal committee could represent the region on the theme of health care.
"I think that with what's currently on the docket with the port growth that it's important that the communities including Prince Rupert, Lax Kw'alaams, Metlakatla, Kitkatla, Port Ed potentially even the Haida Gwaii communities, that we work together to ensure that the region is getting the health services that we need ... I think that the community needs an ability to have their voices heard and I think that a formal committee that gets together ... to discuss health care related issues and have more of a conversation at a community level" -- Mayor Lee Brain .
Council Cunningham expanded further on the need to include as many communities as possible to ensure that Prince Rupert is not left behind.
"I think that it's very important that we include the whole region, because we are the North Coast Regional Hospital, so the North Coast regional communities, the coastal communities and that includes Haida Gwaii as well ... it's very important that we include the North Coast in this.
Because now with this Trauma Three Hospital coming to Terrace, a lot of attention and medical attention is going to go to Terrace and I don't want to see any of our services downgraded that's all.
I believe that there is a definite need, I believe that Prince Rupert is going to be the centre for growth ... and I believe that health services are going to be very important to that development in the future"
For the whole conversation on the health themes see the Video Archive for Monday evening starting at the fifty minute mark.
Not mentioned during the course of the Health Care discussion of Monday, but someone who should be included in any discussion on the theme, was for an approach to Jennifer Rice the MLA for the North Coast, seeking out her advocacy for their concerns.
The focus on health care would seem to offer the opportunity for City Council to ask the MLA to attend one of the public Council sessions scheduled in 2020 to speak to health care in the region and hear from Council first hand of the many concerns that they have heard from residents in the city when it comes to fears over health care.
For more items of note related to Monday's Council session see our Council Timeline Feature.
A wider overview of City Council discussion themes can be found from our Council Archive page here.
For a look at some of the past notes from Northern Health see our archive page here.