Friday, August 21, 2009

Podunk Below the Masthead Friday, July 31, 2009

Prince Rupert's medical concerns begin to gain attention with some ambtious plans for health care in the Northwest announced, the back to school backpack program once again is on the mind of locals and the Old Acropolis is destined for the wrecking crews, some of the highlights of the Friday edition of the Daily News.

PR MAYOR IS THE BEARER OF GLAD TIDINGS-- After a few years of growing concern, some of the main priorities of health care in Prince Rupert appear to be in the process of being addressed. The Friday paper featured the details of some upcoming initiatives by Northern Health for the North coast, the glad tidings the featured attraction of the front page (see story below)

With school on the horizon for September, the Salvation Army is once again in the process of organizing their back to school backpack program for the city. With a growing need each year, it's expected that over 300 backpacks will be filled with purchased and/or donated goods by the time that school opens in September.

While the building is considered a Prince Rupert landmark now, the plan is still to move forward with the demolition of the Old Acropolis Manor. With the new Manor now open, Northern Health has decided that the 4 million dollar price tag of repairs and renovations to the old structure is not a wise use of money. The future of the old building will be that of demolition and regeneration as a parking lot and access area for the new Manor.

The Sports pages featured another look at the Terrace racing scene.

Total pages in the Friday edition (16)

Front page, headline story:

By Monica Lamb-Yorski
The Daily News
Friday, July 31, 2009
Page one

The City of Prince Rupert, District of Port Edward, Metlakatla and Kitkatla met with Northern Health Wednesday afternoon.

Fresh out the meeting, Mayor Jack Mussallem shared the results of the meeting with the Daily News.

A drug and alcohol treatment program, a new medical clinic and the recruitment and retention of doctors and nursing practicums in Prince Rupert were exciting items on the agenda.

"Northern Health is working on a drug program for our area and the program has gone to sQ.rvice providers to review it. We're looking at a day treatment program with First Nations and other communities," Mussallem said in his office at City Hall.

In the past, people needing drug and alcohol treatment have had to travel to Prince George for a 28-day session there.

That option hasn't worked well, Mussallem explained, because there are usually no family supports in Prince George for people from the North Coast.

"People feel estranged. A day program could work because everything's here."

No start date for the treatment centre has been determined at this point, but the program has been developed, finalized, and reviewed. It has now gone out to North Coast communities for feedback.

A proposal for a medical clinic, set up to attract new doctors that can arrive and start practicing immediately, has been submitted by Northern Health to the government for funding approval.

"A medical clinic as an enticement is a great idea. We heard about it in another community. It is a lot for someone who just comes over here from another country. A clinic allows them to come in and get to work right away," the mayor noted.

It would be a multi-disciplinary health centre for primary health care and locums.

If the province approves the funding, it will go to Northern Health and Prince Rupert could see the new clinic implemented as early as September 2009.

"We need $200,000 for it to be set up. They are considering some different locations in the community and we're optimistic that it will receive approval and be put in place," Mussallem said, adding that the City will lobby and support the initiative in any way it can.

If all goes well, there could be six new doctors here within the year, some who could work in the new clinic.

The community has welcomed one new GP who started in June and a GP/anesthesiologist who started in July.

There is another GP/anesthesiologist in the process of immigration who is expected to arrive here in October, while an additional GP and GP/anesthesiologist are actively being pursued to work in Prince Rupert.

Additionally. Northern Health reported at the meeting that they are looking for one more doctor. A few months ago, Mussallem announced at a council meeting that a suggestion had been put forward to Northem Health and Northwest Community College for nursing students to do a practicum in Prince Rupert.

The nursing program had seven graduates this year and all seven have chosen to stay in the Terrace and Prince Rupert area.
When more students are participating in the program, practicums can take place in Prince Rupert. Eight students are required per instructor so the training would need sufficient numbers to be viable.

"It's taken some time, but we're very encouraged that Northern Health has responded as quickly as it can. They're answering our requests," Mussallem concluded.

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