Thursday, 19 June 2008

Health Care in Crowsnest Pass, Deloitte Report

The release of the Deloitte report and comments by the Minister of Health a couple of weeks ago regarding the delivery of health care in rural Alberta caused quite a stir here in Crowsnest Pass as well as across the province. There were recommendations in the report to turn some rural hospitals into clinics. Effectively closing those hospitals. Looking through the Deloitte study on the Chinook Health Region (which the province has disbanded) it is seen that while there are some concerns regarding the delivery of health care here, there are no recommendations to change the status of our hospital.

The report projects a population increase to 12,000 people and points out some areas of concern. Future staffing seems to be the biggest problem, with some doctors reaching retirement. It also points out that there is an opportunity to increase surgical volumes. Recruitment of physicians was the responsibility of the now defunct health board. Where that responsibility now lies is unclear. It is very clear however that we (as a community and municipality) need to protect the future of our hospital. As such we may have a role to play in the recruitment of the physicians (and other staff) needed to properly staff our hospital.

An ad hoc committee was set up last year by concerned citizens to deal with the problems in the delivery of health services here in the Pass. Should that committee be looking into the recruitment problem? Are they the right vehicle to engage our current medical personnel in finding solutions? What should the municipality be doing? Is it time we thought about incentives to attract the needed doctors? The best start, I am sure, is to reactivate that adhoc committee.

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