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HomeNewsMayor says Quesnel won't follow Williams Lake's lead in establishing emergency fund...

Mayor says Quesnel won’t follow Williams Lake’s lead in establishing emergency fund to buy equipment for nurses and doctors

Bob Simpson says the health authorities and not local governments should be determining what equipment is necessary in each community during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Simpson, also the Chair of the Cariboo Chilcotin Regional Hospital District Board, was responding to a question about Williams Lake City Council’s decision to establish an emergency fund to potentially purchase equipment for doctors and nurses.

Simpson says there is already a system in place…

“The way the Cariboo Regional Hospital District would work is if we got a request from either Interior Health or Northern Health where they wanted to purchase incremental capital equipment to deal with this particular situation then we as a Board would do that. We would take a look at that request and then we do have some funding support, but the arbiter of who determines what equipment is necessary and where it should be should still be the health authorities.”

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Simpson says if Council’s start trying to find equipment for hospitals we could end up in a situation like what is happening south of the border….

“We’ve been asked quite clearly and categorically by the province through the Solicitor General’s Office, through the Public Health office, through the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing to adhere to the provincial coordinated approach, and I believe that that’s what we should all be doing. We should not be second guessing what the experts are saying and we should not be interfering with the provincial strategy that is in play. If all local governments decided they were going to listen to local doctors or whoever was informing them of critical shortages at their hospital and they’re not getting the requests from the health authorities, they could absolutely interfere with the supply chain management that’s going on to make sure that the hospitals that need equipment are getting equipment.”

Simpson says he feels it’s important for local government to stay in their own lane and let the health authorities and the provincial government do their job.

He does say however that many Councils, including Quesnel’s, do have access to funding for generic COVID-19 relief, which he says he does support…

“In the case of the City of Quesnel, and I know other communities have it, we already have some inherent flexibility in our budget because during any given year there are grants that open up, there are opportunities that open up that we need some flexibility.”

Simpson says they also have what’s called a Council Initiatives Fund, which is a fund that can be used if something happened in the community.

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