Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Podunk Below the Masthead, Wednesday, September 9, 2009

A greyhound that may not run much longer, politicians that apparently love the campaign trail and the demand for a post mortem on a disappointing salmon season, just some of the items of note for a Wednesday.

DAILY NEWS, Headline Story
HEALTH TEAM MAKES FIRST VISIT TO FIRST NATIONS VILLAGES--Health care went on the road last week as a team of health care professionals traveled to Kitkatla and Metlakatla to discuss the health care needs in the villages and try to increase the level of communication between the Prince Rupert Regional Hospital and those patients and health care providers from the villages (see story here PG Citizen link) (Daily News Archive)

The disappointing salmon season has given NDP MP Nathan Cullen and NDP Fisheries critic Peter Julian cause for concern over the handling of the resource by the Federal government. Looking towards an examination of the ongoing crisis, they along with NDP MLA Gary Coons are calling for a salmon post mortem to take place. Asking the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans to hold hearings and examine just why the salmon fishery is in the dire straits that it seems to be (see story here PG Citizen link) (No item posted to the Daily News Archive)

The possibility that once again Canadians will be heading to the polls has become the talk of Ottawa and now the North Coast as the NDP MP for Skeena- Bulkley Valley provides the NDP's interpretation of the events in Ottawa of late, events which could lead to yet another Federal Election sending the politicians and would be politicians to your doorstep this fall (see story here PG Citizen link) (Daily News Archive)

Greyhound is making plans to sit down with BC's Transportation Minister Shirley Bond next week and the fate of inter city bus travel may be decided by those deliberations. As we outlined on the blog last week, Greyhound recently announced that it plans on ending service in Manitoba and Northwestern Ontario unless government provides them with fifteen million dollars to cover their losses on unprofitable routes.
At that time they outlined that beyond ending service in the two announced areas, they were going to put the entire group of Western provinces under consideration for similar cutbacks or closures. The discussion points for BC were outlined in the Wednesday edition of the Daily News (see story here PG Citizen link) (Daily News Archive)

UBCM time is almost here, that annual gathering of provincial and municipal leaders to help make those important connections, a chance for the Mayor and much of his council and administrators to share their thoughts and impress upon the provincial government of the needs of the Northwest. The Daily News outlined the Mayors thoughts on the upomcing sessions in Vancouver (Daily News Archives see story here)

The Sports section features a look at the upcoming high school sports season with a preview of what is ahead for the PRSS Rainmakers.

Northern View, Web Extra
Bylaw to close Prince Rupert Secondary given two readings-- The Northern View was first to report on the latest developments at School District 52, providing details on the Tuesday night meeting which saw the first two readings of a bylaw to close PRSS made, beginning a process of discussion and debate leading up to a February decision on the future of secondary school education in the city (see story here)

Daily News, front page headline story:
Health team makes first visit to First Nations villages
By Monica Lamb-Yorski
Prince Rupert Daily News
Wednesday, September 9, 2009

A team of health professionals visited the communities of Kitkatla and Metlakatla on Friday.

Their goal was to see what the medical needs are within both communities and heard that the number one concern is the lack of doctors.

“They’ve got one coming every two weeks and that doesn’t service needs,” said gynecologist Dr. Marius Pienaar.

Responding by telephone Tuesday, Health Director Linda Innes of Kitkatla said she felt the team was genuine in terms of communication.

“After all these years of us going to them, they came to us. I was really happy. We talked about establishing better communication with staff at the hospital. For example, if there’s a discharge plan for a patient, we need to receive a copy so we know what we need to do for home support or home care.”

Innes hopes the meeting will go a long way and open the doors for more practitioners to visit the community.

“We hear the government talking about seamless service delivery and I say ‘no we’re not delivering that’, but now I can say we’re working on it.” she said.

The health team heard that many people in both communities are without family doctors and that they would love to see more doctors coming to the villages. Presently Dr. George Watson of Prince Rupert visits Kitkatla once every two weeks and is kept very busy.

Innes said she wasn’t aware of the doctor shortage in Prince Rupert and was glad to hear that Northern Health is actively trying to recruit more doctors.

For Pienaar’s administrative assistant, Elaine Jackson, the meeting enabled her to put faces to the voices she deals with over the phone.

“I enjoyed talking to the nursing director and the patients and seeing what the medical needs are. Many of the patients are taking flights and ferries just to come to Prince Rupert for a doctor’s appointment,” Jackson explained.

The visits also gave each doctor the opportunity to talk about his specific practice.

Pienaar shared statistics on the two groups of women who have the highest rates of cervical cancer - immigrants and First Nations women on reserve.

General Surgeon Dr. Philip Nel gave an overview of colon cancer screening, while Dr. Greeff, who works primarily out of the hospital’s emergency department, discussed the emergency system and the department’s frustrations.

“There were 50 people at lunch in Kitkatla. People introduced themselves and said I’m looking for a family doctor,” Nel noted, adding that people in Metlatkatla said they had never seen a specialist in their village.

“There was mutual understanding from both sides,” observed Greeff.

Innes agreed, noting that there is room for improvement in the system. Knowing what the issues are, communities and health professionals can work together.

“One thing I shared with them is the fact that as an aboriginal remote community we have to learn how to take care of ourselves, when it comes to emergency situations, but if it means medical care, then we rely totally on the medical system.”

Care North co-ordinator Lisa Chieduch arranged for the team visit and described the meetings as a chance to brainstorm on what changes could be made.

“The specialists have offered staff from the villages to come over to the hospital to learn,” Chieduch said of possible next steps.

Aboriginal Health executive director Paul Hanki of Prince George felt that both communities appreciated that the team had shown an interest.

“We have to start building relationships. One of the councilors in Kitkatla said you have to understand where we come from. Lisa put the visits together and I think it was money well spent,” Hanki said.

During the afternoon, the doctors and health team learned from Hanki that there is a cultural sensitivity program being developed for physicians and part of it stresses the importance of seeing where patients live and where they come from.

“One of the wellness counselors told us if you go away thinking you didn’t do anything, know that you did,” Hanki added.

Innes admitted she had no clue what the meeting would turn out like, but tried to think of what to share with the visitors based on what it’s like to go through things as a patient.

The lunch at Kitkatla was comfortable and down to earth and Innes said she didn’t know if the group could have a general conversation on health care, the doctor shortage and look at what the concerns are.

“I hope doctors can become more aware and know that next time someone gets admitted to the hospital that they can know how to ensure continuity. I’d like to invite them back before March 2010 and see if we get any new faces,” she added.

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