Op-ed: MLA Pimm’s ten-point plan for healthcare solutions

For the past five (5) weeks our Short Term Solutions Committee – of which I am currently chairing – has met every Saturday morning in hopes of finding solutions to our health care struggles.

The Short Term Solutions Committee consists of myself – Pat Pimm, Mayor Lori Ackerman – City of Fort St. John, District of Taylor, Northern Health, The Chamber of Commerce, Concerned Citizens for Health Care, The Peace River Regional District, The North Peace Division of Family Practice, and Industry.

Our Committee has been devoted to finding and implementing a sustainable short-term solution that can lead us into a long-term and permanent fix for our on-going struggle with health care.

I want to take this opportunity to talk about one of our highest priority items that we have been working on.

We have been discussing strategies like how to recruit and retain resident physicians, how to recruit International Medical graduates, and how to make Fort St. John more attractive to all medical professionals. We have also been actively recruiting nurse practitioners to the community – which we currently have funding for two more Nurse Practitioners at present.

In addition, we’ve also been in discussion and strategy planning for the following points:

1- High costs for physicians in the community

 2-   Unattached Clinic

 3-   Campus of Care

 4-   LiveCare

 5-   Peace River Regional Hospital District funding

 6-   Walk-in-Clinic

 7-   Medical Files

 8-   Resident Physicians

 9-   International Medical Graduate Physicians

 10- Recruiting and recruitment package

The item that I would like to put emphasis on is the walk-in-clinic and I would like to say that we have been able to work out a solution for the unattached patients in our region.

At present the FSJ medical clinic and the ABC clinic take same day appointments for the patients who are attached to a physician in their clinic respectively.  However that doesn’t do much for the people that do not have a family doctor.

Through the work of our committee and having all of the concerned parties represented at the table, we are very proud to announce that a new walk-in-clinic for unattached patients will be opened in the FSJ medical clinic mid-January 2015. This has been a lot of work and I want to thank everyone involved for making this happen.

Northern Health will be providing the space, upgrading their IT, and providing help with staffing the clinic; the Division of family Practice will set-up rotating shifts so that the work is evenly distributed amongst our local physicians.

Throughout our discussions a major concern was the ability to fund the walk-in clinic.

I am happy to report that the community has stepped up to the plate and donated close to $40,000 through a very short-notice fundraising opportunity.

At our last committee meeting which was Saturday November 29th, we found out that we would require $20,000 to get a walk-in-clinic up and running in the available space that Northern Health has in the FSJ Medical clinic. I told the committee that I thought we could be successful in getting industry or our local residents and contractors to pitch in and help so that we could truly call this walk-in clinic a community partnership.

I woke up on Sunday morning and decided to give it a try and see what might happen. I sent out an email to a few people that I have on my contact list and told them of our situation and said that I was going to personally donate $1,000, and my daughters company – Alpha controls – was going to match that.

Unsurprisingly, my list of contacts responded in spades and within 4 hours we had raised $22,000. This of course was fantastic news and it didn’t stop there; we have now raised close to $40,000 and it is still rising. Through the fundraiser, we now have enough funds to get the walk-in-clinic up and running and all of the extra funds will go towards the active recruitment and retention efforts in our region.

I want to thank all of those involved with this initiative and if anybody else would like to help out you can contact me at: [email protected]

Throughout the discussions in the Short Term Solutions Committee we have determined that our goals are to see everyone in the community with a family doctor and access to reliable health care. We strive to see our short-term solutions line-up with, and become part of the long-term strategy, to solve our crisis.

I want to say, that to see our community unified and working together towards the common goal of solving a health care crisis has been so rewarding to me.

If you have comments, questions, or concerns please feel free to contact my office at 250-263-0101 or [email protected]

Thanks for Reading!

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