Monday, May 17, 2010

Podunk Below the Masthead (Monday, May 17, 2010)

The Health report is released, Cosco adds a port call and Prince Rupert leads the province in unemployment, some of the items of interest in the Monday news cycle.

Daily News, front page, headline story
NORTHERN HEALTH REPORT ON COMMUNITY VERY ENCOURAGING--  The data has been compiled from Northern Health's consultations of 2009, examining a number of issues of concern tot he community at that time. Many of the items of concern have been addressed since then, but the snapshot from the consultation provides an interesting look at Health care in the Northwest, with some of the key points examined in Monday's paper. The full report can be found on the Northern Health website (click here)

The Fairview Container pot will receive one more visit this summer as COSCO adds a port call as part of the return voyage of their Express route, with container ships returning to Prince Rupert after a stopover at Long Beach California. The first trip of the expanded routing takes place with the arrival of the Cosco Longbeach which arrives in Prince Rupert on May 24 and will return to the city on June 5 before it begins its voyage back to Asia.

Rumours that the Recylcing Depot will be curtailing its Saturday hours seem to have been proven true, as a letter from the Superintendent of Waste Managment at the Centre is exploring the prospect of reducing weekend hours in order to reduce costs. In addition to the potential reduction of hours on Saturday to 10 am to 1:45 pm, reductions in salaries, benefits for a full time employee who would be move to part time status.

The Sports section featured a look at golf with updates on both the Port City Open and the recent High school zones held at the Centennial golf course.

(Daily News Archives for Monday, May 17, 2010)

Health report on community very encouraging 
PRPA increases its numbers
Recycling depot may reduce hours
Prince Rupert to play host to youth conference next year
Private bill submitted to contain open net fish farming

Northern View
Northwest leads the province in unemployment -- It's a list that the city probably doesn't want to be leading on, but for the city's unemployed the latest statistics won't be a surprise as Prince Rupert leads the province when in comes to the unemployment rate. (see article here)   

CFTK TV 7 News
Woman's Body Found Near Smithers-- The RCMP and the BC Coroners Service continue their investigation into the discovery of a woman's body near Smithers on Friday afternoon. (see article here)

CFTK TV 7 News
Homecoming preparations-- With the big weekend but a few days away, the last minute preparations are taking place to bring together Homecoming 2010, Sahar Nassimdoost provided a report for TV 7's Monday newscast (see report here)

CBC News British Columbia, Daybreak North
Daybreak North is only posting selected items on their website now.

The most recently posted items can be found on the archive page for Daybreak North click here

Daily News, front page, headline story
Northern Health report on community very encouraging 
By Monica Lamb-Yorski 
Staff Writer 
Prince Rupert Daily News
Monday, May 17, 2010

 Northern Health’s Community Consultations 2009 report described the public meeting held last November in Prince Rupert as “lively”.

Seventy-two people attended the meeting in Prince Rupert, compared to 208 in Kitimat and 34 in Terrace.

Locally, people arrived with many issues on their minds and a sizeable contingent was there specifically to raise concerns about the changes/reductions to the local Healthy Heart Program, cited the report.

Six months after the meeting, many of the issues raised at that time have been addressed, and plans are afoot to tackle those that remain a concern.

The Healthy Heart Program, was relocated to the hospital from the Ocean Centre Mall.

Patients have been visiting the program at the hospital, but will only begin using the new workout space on a group basis at the Earl Mah Aquatic Centre next week. Up until now, there have been a few individuals accessing the exercise room.

Fitness instructor and lifeguard, Ann King, said Wednesday, that classes begin next week, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m.

“I have sixteen people on the list and two or three more names have been recently added. We’ve had a few coming here that are part of the Healthy Heart program, going in the water and using the recumbent bikes,” King explained. 

A number of other concerns raised at the public meeting centered around the need for a drug and alcohol treatment program.

Health Services Administrator, Sheila Gordon-Payne, told the Daily News a day treatment program is currently in place at the Ocean Centre Mall. Previously it was held in the Fishermen’s Hall near Overwaitea Foods.

“Four mornings a week people meet as a group, or they can request individual appointments. We had a report at our last Community-to-Community Forum from Regional Manager Beth Ann Doerksen, and she said that someone from every community in our area has been using the programs. The youngest person was sixteen years old. The program is open to meeting the needs of everyone,” Gordon-Payne said.

A lack of family physicians was another issue raised at the forum, but since then the new primary health clinic has opened where the Greene Clinic was located previously. The clinic is helping to alleviate the shortage.

Presently there are three physicians and one nurse practitioner on staff and a fourth doctor and additional nurse practitioner are being pursued.

Gordon-Payne is hopeful they will be in place by August.

According to Gordon-Payne, the second nurse practitioner will be available to visit Hartley Bay, Kitkatla and Lax Kw’alaams, working right in the communities.

When the primary health care clinic first opened its doors there was a waiting list of 500 patients. Every one of those people has been attached to a family physician and the latest tally is 700 with doctors.

 “We are advertising for more people to seek out the clinic’s services,” confirmed Gordon-Payne.

 When asked if the clinic has had an effect on the number of visits to the hospital’s emergency department, she said some days it seems like it has and other days it doesn’t.

 “It’s too early to see how it has impacted the lab and X-ray departments. We’re finding that even patients with doctors continue to visit Emergency.”

 As stated in the report, there were people waiting five hours in Emergency only to fill a prescription.

 Another issue of grave concern was access to mammograms, because in November patients were having to travel to Kitimat to have one.

Since that time, said Gordon-Payne, the physical space at the mammogram station has been adjusted to make it easier for technicians to conduct the screening and an additional staff member has been trained.

 “We realized, through all of that, it was problematic to only have one trained person,” she added.

 In reference to mammograms in Prince Rupert, the wait-times for appointments listed on the B.C. Cancer Society’s website are up-to-date for Prince Rupert, confirmed Papinder Rhency of the society.

 “The average wait time is six weeks, and the wait time in Prince Rupert is about two-and-a-half weeks. Women in the program receive reminder letters to book an appointment close to the time when they are due to have their screening mammogram, to enable them to attend in a timely fashion.”

 Doreen Bond has continued to be the Tobacco Cessation coordinator and, along with other Health promotion staff, has been relocated from the Ocean Centre Mall to the hospital’s fourth floor.

“It was our hope that patients could access staff that can deal with a range of health issues. I’ve heard really positive feedback about the move. We’ve got meeting rooms that are booked and as the program is located in the old ECU, we saved the kitchen so people can go to cooking meetings, if they are learning about healthy diets.”

 In addition to Bond, there are four nicotine intervention counsellors at the Health Unit downtown and another five more Health Promotion staff will be trained in the future.

 “It’s all about them being able to deal with a number of issues, such as heart attacks, smoking and diet. Instead of seeing three people, one person deals with it all. This way people develop a relationship with one person who knows them well,” Gordon-Payne explained.

 Over the last few years there continues to be concern about the lack of an Audiologist for Prince Rupert, but Gordon-Payne said the clinic at the hospital is presently serviced by locums.

“Hopefully, by the end of the summer there will be someone in place to service the Northwest region. In the meantime, we have visiting Audiologists regularly. At the new primary health clinic, staff has been able catch small children with hearing issues that didn’t have a family physician and could not be recommended. Now that’s happening.”

 Criticism about staffing levels at Acropolis Manor, also raised by people at the meeting, have also been addressed. 

“We have increased levels twice since the meeting,” Gordon-Payne commented. “At the meeting we explained that we had extra hours we could access, but were trying to figure out how to best allocate them. Angela Szabo at the manor has put additional staff in place. She’s not finished yet, but in the process we have sixteen additional hours of care a day, which puts us above the Ministry of Health’s 2.8 hr. rate. We know we’re above the bench mark.”

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