Key health care issues were the topic of discussion at a recent meeting in Kamloops attended by Cariboo Chilcotin Regional Hospital District (CCRHD) chair John Massier and numerous other political leaders.
A series of three or four meetings was held by Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo MP Cathy McLeod with various local and regional leaders to discuss pertinent health care issues under federal and provincial authority, Massier says.
Bringing local health-care providers from the hospital districts and those who fund those kinds of things together to present their views in front of federal politicians is always worthwhile, he adds.
“If you can get all three levels [of government] in a room talking about the problems, you are better to do it. You want to seize the chance anytime you can get them to listen to you.”
Massier says he thinks the one hour and 20 minute meeting was successful, and covered dozens of comments within that brief time.
“MP McLeod says she likes having these meetings, and if she can condense the meetings and come up with one or two real, driving items that she can take back to Ottawa and get some action on them, then she feels it’s been a success.”
McLeod held the meetings in groups of about half a dozen people each, Massier explains, to allow the individual leaders to better express their key points on current health-care system aspects they felt were most important for her to bring to Ottawa.
She was joined by MP Kellie Leitch, who Massier notes is a paediatric orthopaedic surgeon, in addition to her role as parliamentary secretary to two federal ministers.
Massier says his particular meeting group also included provincial Environment Minister Terry Lake and Kamloops-North Thompson MLA Kevin Krueger’s constituency assistant June Phillips.
Regional representatives included Massier, Kamloops Mayor and Thompson-Nicola Regional District Director Peter Milobar and Clearwater Mayor John Harwood.
Community Futures Development Corporation of Central Interior First Nations representative Geri Collins was also in attendance.
Other groups likely had additional regional district and municipal representatives, he notes.
“We talked about strategies to get doctors into rural practices and the need to promote active lifestyles and healthy living.
“[Lake] brought up the issue of the federal government missing the [recent] opportunity to legislate salt content in food.”
He notes Milobar raised a point about various levels of government working together to ensure cost effective solutions for health-care delivery.
“There are a lot of facilities owned by regional governments and local governments that really should be looked at for providing health care.
“Like: don’t come and build a new health-care facility when the local town or city may be able to incorporate federal/provincial programs into their own building.”
Another issue discussed was the “fairly important” federal per-capita health-care funding, Massier says, adding it needs demographic adjustments to account for the number of seniors in British Columbia.