Sooke mayor meets with health minister

Sooke mayor meets with health minister

Announcement expected soon on health-care initiatives

Both Mayor Maja Tait and Health Minister Adrian Dix sounded optimistic after the pair met last week to discuss health-care initiatives in Sooke.

“I felt the meeting went very well,” said Tait, who will make health care a main plank in her re-election bid this fall.

“What we need in Sooke is aligning well with the NDP’s initiatives to deal with health care. We’re expecting an announcement in the near future.”

Tait has carried the Sooke health portfolio for more than six years and took over the reins of the health care push when she became mayor in 2014.

The meeting with Dix covered three topics: the need for a primary urgent care network, public health, especially the needs of young families, infants and toddlers, and the opportunity for the health minister to visit Sooke.

“Improving primary care in Sooke is a high priority for me, Mayor Tait and for MLA John Horgan,” Dix said.

“We are working hard on this common goal, and look forward to continue to work with both the community and Island Health moving forward.”

Last weekend, Tait hosted a public input session which was a follow up to last fall’s meeting with health care stakeholders.

Tait said she understands some frustration on the slow pace of improving health care in the Sooke region, but insists there is a lot of work behind the scenes and many accomplishments so far.

She said Sooke is playing catch up in many services and part of that is growth but also an aging population, which requires specialized care.

Local physicians appeared to be ahead of the curve several years ago and began creating a model of care where health care took a team approach involving doctors and other health-care professionals. It’s a model that Tait would like to emulate.

“The easiest thing I could have done,” she said, “was to build a building, but that wouldn’t have solved our health care problems if there was no one to work there.”

Instead, she wants to take a team aspect by having needed health care professionals in place, including more doctors.

“It’s one thing to say we need all these things and there is an awareness we need those things, but then you need to recruit and retain that skilled profession,” Tait said.

“Our focus is, and continues to be, to have the right model in place. We want to make sure nobody is left behind.”