–by Britt Santowski [SPN]
More doctors, more health practitioners, and a team-based healthcare approach is coming to Sooke—all in short order, promises Adrian Dix, B.C.’s Minister of Health. If it comes to pass as envisioned, this should significantly reduce the currently lengthy waitlist to get a family doctor in Sooke.
Dix and a number of high-ranking officials toured a range of medical-related facilities in Sooke, on the afternoon of Friday September 6, 2018. Accompanying the Minister of Health were John Horgan (Sooke MLA and B.C.’s Premier) and a number of representatives from the Vancouver Island Health Authority (VIHA). The tour was hosted by Sooke’s Mayor Maja Tait.
Facilities visited included the West Coast Family Medical Clinic where they spoke with five local doctors, the Sooke Health Unit at CASA (the Sooke Family Resource Services building) where they spoke with public health nurses, and Ayre Manor where they spoke with a number of residents and care providers.
At the press conference held after their tour, a number significant statements were made though no definitive targets were set. Everything hinges on an application of need that will be submitted on October 1, by the Sooke physicians from the local Family Clinic.
Dix emphasized that the approach they were taking was not singularly focused on getting doctors. Attracting doctors would be only one part of the plan; additional efforts would go toward recruiting other healthcare professionals (like nurses, health practitioners, mental health specialists and so on) that could reduce the doctors’ workload and provide a more rounded spectrum of services. In other words, it could mean a significant reduction in the current years-long waitlist to get a doctor in Sooke.
The other health-based gap in Sooke was physical space. At some point, additional facilities would have to be found. However, the current proposal is to start growing the medical team while keeping an eye on addressing the need for facilities over the longer term.
“I don’t think the resources [the incoming practitioners] should wait for the building,” said Horgan.
Various communities throughout B.C. have been in a healthcare crisis for some time. Sooke and the Western Communities have been identified as high-priority regions, given their rapid growth that shows no sign of abating any time soon. What has put Sooke ahead of the pack, according to Dix, is the strong advocacy from the District.
“The Mayor has been one of the [strongest] leaders in all of B.C.,” said the Minster, adding that Dr. Robin Saunders of the Family Clinic has also been a leader in advancing these initiatives. The collaboratively-operating Sooke healthcare practitioners are extremely willing and more than ready to move forward on revisioning healthcare services in Sooke.
We are ready to go in this calendar year, said Dix. The finances are ready. The team-based model is set. The intent is to attach as many people as possible to a family doctor over the next few years.
Two priorities were identified: mental health and seniors’ healthcare issues.
“I’m really excited about this,” said Tait. “The work [over the past few years] has been largely invisible.” Tait has been working on the healthcare file throughout her tenure as mayor, as well as during her previous term as Councillor. Highlights include:
- Two community forums to collect input on community needs, and shared resources
- Pushing for the improved medical imaging services (X-ray and ultrasound)
- Collaborating on research and programming, supporting the needs of senior citizens
- Presenting to the CRD’s Hospitals and Housing Committee regarding a need for a Regional Health Care Facility in Sooke, in April of 2017
- Hosting a stakeholder engagement session in November 2017
- Hosting a Public Open House in June 2018
- Producing the Sooke Community Health Service Planning Document
Last year, Tait met with Health Minister Adrian Dix at the 2017 Union of British Columbia Municipalities convention to discuss healthcare in Sooke. That meeting was followed with a second meeting in June of 2018. During that second meeting, Mayor Tait presented the Sooke Community Health Service Planning document, and extended an invitation to Dix to tour some of Sooke’s healthcare facilities. That series of meetings culminated into today’s tour.
Having caught and held the attention of the provincial change makers—present at today’s tour—Sooke Mayor Maja Tait is confident that the residents of Sooke will soon start seeing tangible progress with local medical healthcare services.
Stay tuned for the more definitive targets as they becoming known.
- Facilities expansion and new resources added to Sooke’s existing health services
- Strong advocacy and willing practitioners put Sooke at the front of the healthcare crisis line
- Letter: Inadequate ambulance service in Sooke
- Sooke – your health, your community, your say … TODAY!
- Health care in Sooke: two opportunities to give feedback
- Sooke Seniors “Aging with Grace” summit summary
- The SPN’s Happiness Index for Sooke is set at solid C, or Adequate
- LETTER Sooke mom pleads for Horgan to hear: her child requires meds they can’t afford and Pharmacare doesn’t cover
- Minister of Health joins conversation on Sooke Region Health Care Facility
- Online petition calls on Horgan to address Sooke’s healthcare crisis
- Mayor’s continued push for better medical services obtains CRD support
- Health Services in Sooke: Survey Results
- Sooke mayor seeks community input on access to health services: Survey CLOSED
- Sooke Region Communities Health Network hosts Health Summit