(Files by Brendan Pawliw-MyPGNow)
Improving doctor recruitment efforts and an overhaul to mental health and addictions services are two of the big takeaways from the Health Survey report issued by the North Central Local Government Association.
The survey helped fully understand any gaps in health services in member communities, areas of service delivery that are working well, travel time required to access services, and other important topics.
“Local governments have stated that sustained, comprehensive, and accessible health services in north-central BC communities have been an ongoing challenge,” said Cori Ramsay, President of the NCLGA.
“The results of the survey reflect this long-standing issue. NCLGA’s Health Care Committee looks forward to working with regional health authorities, the Province of BC, and other stakeholders to ensure there is equitable access to adequate health care services in north-central BC communities over the long term.”
The Health Care Survey Summary Report can be found here. Some highlights are noted below.
Doctor recruitment efforts are working with better access to these professionals in many communities; however, long-term retention and shortages of various medical professionals, including doctors, still remain in other locations.
Access to care is impacted by waitlists, inadequate paramedic coverage, access to broadband service for virtual care, and the need to travel long distances to receive several health services, among other factors.
Improvements are still needed in a wide range of health service areas, including but not limited to mental health and addictions services, home care and long term care, emergency services, lab and imaging services, maternity services, palliative care, and cancer treatment.
Many communities are within a 3-hour drive of a health centre that provides a broader selection of health services; however, the preference is to be within a 2-hour drive.
The findings will help to guide the work of NCLGA’s new Health Care Committee.