Update on Princeton Access to Specialist Care Project

One of the most exciting projects in which SOHC is presently involved is the Princeton Access to Specialist Care project, funded by the Shared Care Committee, a joint collaborative committee of the Doctors of BC and the Ministry of Health. The goal of the project, which began in November 2014, is to improve and sustain access to specialist care and to support Princeton physicians in providing optimal care.

With appointments made by their family doctor, the first phase is providing local access to specialties in higher demand through outreach clinics where specialists see their patients at Princeton General Hospital. Specialty areas presently being covered include Cardiology, General Internal Medicine, General Surgery, GP Mental Health and Substance Use, Orthopaedics, Psychiatry, Paediatrics, Nephrology, Respirology, and Urology, with more specialty areas being explored.

Since January 2014, there have been approximately 60 specialist outreach clinics and over 450 patient appointments in association with the project. Everyone surveyed has rated their overall satisfaction with their visit as excellent or good. For patients who have missed specialist appointments in the past because of transportation difficulties, the clinics provide much improved access. Numerous patients have stated their great appreciation for the clinics being held in Princeton.

A formal evaluation will be completed at the end of this pilot program. We expect this evaluation will support what we already know, that this project is a huge success. SOHC is hopeful that this program, being sustained within existing resources, may be a model that could benefit other rural communities in our province.

Message from MLA Jackie Tegart at Public Health Care Rally

The following statement from Jackie Tegart was read to Rally participants by former Area H Regional Director, Brad Hope.

Good morning to everyone. First, thank you so much to Ed Staples and the Support Our Health Care Society for providing me the opportunity to send a message to you today. I am sorry that I am unable to be at this important community rally with you in person due to other commitments, however, I am with you in spirit!

It is necessary for all of us to recognize and appreciate the good work being done on your behalf by Support Our Health Care, a local grassroots organization that has been both innovative and respectful. Continue reading

Speech by Lynn Wells, SOHC Director

Thank you for joining us today. I am a Director of the Princeton Support Our Health Care group, and a resident of Hedley. Some Hedley residents come to Princeton for their medical services, some go to Keremeos, and some to Penticton. It is important to us to have adequate health care in all these locations.


I want to relate a conversation I had recently. A group in Hedley invited Dan Albas, Conservative MP and the Conservative candidate in the upcoming federal election, to talk to us. It is a chill wind here today and what Mr. Albas had to say was equally chilling. I expressed the concern of many people in this area about the expiry of the Canada Health Accord, and our concern that Prime Minister Harper appears to be opposed to signing a new Accord.

Mr. Albas informed us that – the role of the Federal government has been that of a tax collector. The Federal government collects income taxes, and then it passes that money on to the Provinces who are responsible for administering health care. Since it is the mandate of the Provinces to provide health care, so it would make more sense for the Provinces to collect the taxes they need, instead of the Federal

If that is the position of the Conservatives, what does this mean?
* If the Provinces and Territories have to start collecting income tax to pay for their own health systems, this means that the have-not provinces and territories, or any province or territory that has a small population and a small tax base, will collect less. The Yukon, for example, with a population of around 35,000 people, cannot possibly collect enough taxes to fund an adequate health care system for its residents.
* Without Federal government oversight, there is no guarantee that health care will be consistent and accessible across Canada.
* The result of inadequate health care will be the depopulation of remote and rural areas because people cannot continue to live in areas with inadequate or no health care and home care services.

My Canada used to be like the Three Musketeers: All for one and one for all. No longer. My Canada is disappearing before my eyes, being dismantled piece by piece. Harper, shortly after he took office, said that Canadians would no longer recognize their country after he was finished. I am afraid that is true.

What has the Harper government done so far?
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Rally in Support of Public Health Care

On March 31st, over 50 Princeton and Area residents attended the Rally in Support of Public Health Care. Organized by the Princeton local of the Hospital Employees Union and SOHC, the event marked the one year anniversary of the demise of the Canada Health Accord.

Princeton Rally

Speeches were given by Ed Staples, SOHC President; Sharon Zieske, HEU representative; Kim Maynard, Princeton Town Councillor; and Lynn Wells, SOHC Executive Director. Statements were also read from our federal MP, Alex Atamanenko and our provincial MLA, Jackie Tegart. Following the scheduled speeches, the microphone was opened to the public and several people came forward to express their concerns about the dismantling of Canada’s Medicare system.

The following is an excerpt from the speech given by Ed Staples:

“To me, there is nothing more important than my health. And I believe that a properly funded public health care system is the best way to provide me with the health care I need, especially as I continue into my old age. It’s certainly not perfect and there’s lots that can be done to improve it, but I believe it’s the fairest way to provide healthcare to all Canadians, regardless of who they are, where they live, or how much money they make.”

To read the full speech, click on “Read More”

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