Reporting Back: “A GP for Me” forum

Healthy community forum in Sooke resulted in list of accomplishments

One Year Later

A renewed emphasis on building Healthy Communities has seen municipalities in B.C. and across Canada taking a more active role in creating communities that support their citizens and afford them a high quality of life.

In Sooke, a Community Engagement Forum entitled “A GP for Me” was held in December of 2013, jointly sponsored by the Sooke Region Community Health Initiative (CHI) and the South Island Division of Family Practice. The aim of the forum was to assess the need for primary health care services in the Sooke Region, including the need for family physicians. The forum was well attended by community members, elected officials and professionals interested in forwarding the health of our community.

Following the success of this forum, the Primary Health Care Services Working Group was formed, with an agreement to meet for one year in order to create an action plan to identify and address health care service gaps and priorities in the Sooke region. This working group has brought together diverse organizations to tackle complex problems; including members from CHI, the West Coast Family Medical Clinic, the South Island Division of Family Practice, Island Health and the District of Sooke.

Addressing the health and social needs of community members is an important factor in building a community that is able to grow and prosper. By working to attract new residents and ensuring existing residents have the support and infrastructure to remain in the community as they age, local elected officials need to   work hand-in-hand with health care professionals, and senior levels of government to contribute to citizens’ health and social needs.

As Mayor, I have been committed to building the health of this community, and I have had the pleasure of chairing the Primary Health Care Working Group for the past year.  I am proud to report on the accomplishments this dedicated group has achieved in this time.

• Gained new access to physician recruitment programs including linking with a South Island recruitment initiative, joining an Island-wide proposal to hire a “recruitment navigator” position and initiating a local recruitment package.

• Brought provincial attention to the gap in X-ray and ultrasound services in the Region. The working group is collaborating with Island Health and the “Partners for Better Health” committee to discuss regulations and licensing restrictions, as well as business and strategic health planning to address the issue.

• Initiated a study entitled “Support Needs of Sooke Seniors” to examine the resource capacity and requirements of seniors who plan to remain in their homes as they age.

• Worked with Island Health increase funding for Ayre Manor.

A decision on funding two additional beds is currently pending.

The Integrated Health Network (IHN) (a nurse dietitian and social worker embedded in the Westcoast Medical Practice is in jeopardy as a result of Island Health funding shortfalls. IHN serves over 2,500 people in our region managing pain, diabetes, advance health care planning, falls prevention, sleep problems, anxiety and depression to name a few. This function is critical to our community. Our group has met with and advocated for continued support of the IHN.

• We have identified the importance of the rural subsidy provided to doctors in Sooke for the purposes of providing locums when physicians are away.  The funding is in jeopardy and the committee has been working to maintain this funding.

• This District of Sooke entered into a service agreement with CHI in the amount of $17,500 to support their activities in the promotion of community well being. Through the group efforts, we were able to obtain matching funding from Island Health.

We will be holding a Reporting Back Forum: Everyone is welcome, come discuss the achievements and future plans.

When: Saturday November 1, 2014 from  10 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Where: Prestige Best Western.

Wendal Milne

Mayor

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