Interested in creating actions together to increase patient engagement in policy?

November 24 & 26, 2020
5:00 PM – 7:30 PM
(should be able to attend both sessions)

– Are you a patient living with two or more chronic health conditions?
– See two or more health care providers in the community, that work together?
– Are you a caregiver (significant other, family member, friend) that lives in BC and provides care for a patient as described above?
– Are you interested in discussing how patients and caregivers could be involved in building, applying and evaluating policies related to primary health care teams?

If interested, please email Azmita Rai at
or Nelly Oelke at


BC Rural Health Network November Newsletter

A selection of what is in this issue:

– Questions we asked our politicians
– Presentation by Dr. Wachtel: pandemics, vaccination, public health planning and rural health
– Citizen Patient Engagement – Interview with Ed Staples and Nienke Klaver
– A variety of articles on Long Term Care and Home Support

Download the Newsletter (below) or scroll through the screenshots.


A bridge to action

October 23, 2020
[Excerpt] One day on a walk with my daughter and our dog in my hometown of Princeton, we stopped to look at our local “Bridge of Dreams”.

While standing there, my daughter pointed to graffiti done with a black sharpie on the bridge and asked me what it meant.There were racist, sexist and homophobic slurs as well as many symbols associated with Nazism. I felt shocked and responded hesitantly as I was forced to have a difficult conversation right then and there with my girl around inequality in our society which included the concept of genocide. This conversation was not easy as I tried to tone it to the innocence of my child.

Please click on the link to read the full blog.…

About the author
Erin Traverse
Erin is a nurse at Princeton General Hospital. She’s also a mother and a community member who wants to speak up about social justice.

Boundary-Similkameen Candidates answer SOHC’s health care questions.

Questions to Boundary-Similkameen candidates.

  1. What will your party do to relieve the financial hardship of travel for medical care?
  2. What will your party do to increase specialist services in rural areas?
  3. What will your party do to provide family physicians in areas that have none?
  4. If elected, what will your party do to ensure adequate financial and planning support is provided to rural communities expressing an interest in establishing a Community Health Centre?
  5. If elected, what will your party do to ensure continued funding for existing Community Health Centres?
  6. If elected, how will physicians be paid in Community Health Centres?
  7. What is your party’s position on private, for-profit healthcare?
  8. What is your party prepared to do to defend further challenges to Canada’s public health care system?
  9. What would you and your party do to improve long term care in BC?
  10. What is your party’s position on P3s in healthcare?
  11. As a candidate in the provincial election, what are you and your party prepared to do to address these barriers to mental health and addictions services in rural BC communities? (transportation and out-of-pocket costs, small town stigma, physical distancing)

Princeton Community Health Table

News Release
Saturday, September 25  2020 

In response to growing concerns with mental health and substance use services, the Support Our Health Care (SOHC) Society has formed the Princeton Community Health Table (PCHT). 

On June 29 & 30, 2020 members of SOHC participated in the BC Rural and First Nations Health and Wellness Conference. It included over 900 participants from around the province. 

Our cohort focused on mental health and substance use issues. It was from this productive collaborative discussion that the PCHT originated. 

Various barriers have been identified to accessing mental health and addictions
services in rural communities. Transportation acts as a barrier, as there are limited options to get from rural areas to facilities located in urban cities that offer the services needed. Costs associated with transportation, food, travel, and accommodation to access those facilities may not be affordable for some service users. Further, the current availability of information may not be sufficient to direct community members to the services they need. Communication platforms that advertise information on where to access services are needed in sites that will reach populations that are at increased risk of mental health challenges. It also appears that stigmatization around mental health treatment plays a role in the barriers to accessing treatment, particularly in communities where the small population size has the potential to reduce the level of confidentiality between service providers and service users. Finally, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic decreases access to services, and has resulted in the need for social distancing. This puts individuals at risk of isolation and related mental health challenges such as stress, anxiety, and depression, amongst others. 

The goal of the PCHT is to improve access to mental health and substance use
services for people living in Princeton and surrounding area. The group aims to include key stakeholders in projects that address the root causes of mental illness and improve access to mental health and addiction services in the community. To accomplish this the group plans to review the community’s current resources and determine a path forward together to address current and new challenges. 

The PCHT held its third meeting on Thursday, September 24 where the group
developed prioritized action items and identified volunteers to work on the delivery of an action plan. Participants included the Assistant Superintendent of School District No. 58 (Nicola-Similkameen), the Executive Director of Princeton and District Community Services, the President of the Princeton Metis Society, a health researcher from UBC Okanagan, members of the Support Our Health Care Board of Directors, and other stakeholders from the Princeton community. 

Representatives who have agreed to participate but were unable to attend include the Executive Director of Princeton Family Services Society, the Nurse Manager of Princeton General Hospital, and a student representative from Princeton Secondary School. 

The PCHT hopes to expand the group to include participants from local government, healthcare practitioners, the RCMP, and people with lived experience. 

BC Rural Health Network – September Newsletter

A selection of what you can find In this issue:
– Letter of the President
– Member of the Month: Hornby and Denman Community Health Care Society
– Message from the Canadian Doctors for Medicare
– Feature article Restoring Trust: COVID-19 and The Future of Long-Term Care
– New petitions on the BCRHN website and much more….

Click on the Download button, or scroll through the screenshots.

An Investigation of Rural Citizen-Patient Priorities for Health Planning: Survey

The Rural Evidence Review project in collaboration with the BC Rural Health Network has launched a provincial survey to understand rural and remote community experiences and responses to COVID-19.

We are interested in engaging and learning from rural and remote citizens and communities across British Columbia about their communities’ experiences of and responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Participation is open to all residents of rural and remote BC communities. The survey is available on an ongoing basis, with no established end date. For individuals who do not feel comfortable to complete the online survey, there is the option to participate in a telephone interview.

The findings will be shared with rural and remote BC communities to support learning and collaboration across communities, and with health care decision-makers to support rural health care planning.

Click here to access survey: Rural Community Responses to COVID-19


Rural residents spending $2,200 in travel per medical condition: survey

By Fran Yanor / Legislative Reporter
Rural B.C. residents who travelled outside their community for medical care paid an average of $2,200 in out-of-pocket expenses for visits related to a single health condition between 2017 and 2020, according to a survey by UBC’s Centre for Rural Health Research.

“When I actually saw the number, that blew me away,” said the Centre’s co-director and UBC associate professor Dr. Jude Kornelsen. “That’s a lot of money.”

Whereas people living in urban centres can reasonably access non-urgent care such as specialists’ consultations and diagnostic testing, those living in rural areas often need to travel long distances to receive similar care, according to the Out-of-Pocket Costs for Rural ResidentsWhen Traveling for Health Care report.

“The disproportionate impact of being rural and trying to access specialist services is huge,” said Kornelsen. “Most people who are urban-dwelling don’t realize this.”

The survey findings show the severity of a problem everyone knew existed, said Ed Staples, president of the BC Rural Health Network, a cross section of rural community organizations advocating for health care policy improvements.

“What we didn’t have was the evidence, the facts, the data, to support what we already knew.”

For some people it’s an inconvenience, Staples said. “But on the other end of the spectrum, people are actually not getting the care that they need because they can’t afford it. And that’s wrong.”

Next Steps
The next step is to use this document as a starting point, said Staples. “It needs to be the beginning of discussion so that we come up with solutions.”

Kornelsen envisions pulling together a multi-disciplinary team to figure out how to correct the situation.

“We have to figure out where the locus of change is,” said Kornelsen, “because right now we don’t know which policy needs to change.”
To read the full article, click on: