2013 Community Consultation

The following are the opening and closing comments presented by Ed Staples at the January 29, 2013 Princeton Healthcare Community Consultation held at Riverside Community Centre.

Princeton Healthcare Community Consultation
January 29, 2013
Riverside Community Centre

Introductory Comments

Good evening everyone and welcome to the Princeton Healthcare
Community Consultation. For those that don’t know me, I’m Ed Staples. I
serve as Vice President of SOHC (the Save Our Hospital Coalition) and I’m
the Community Representative on the Princeton ER Sustainability Steering

My involvement in the issue of healthcare in our community goes back to
the middle of April 2012 when Interior Health announced the nighttime,
Monday to Thursday closure of emergency department services at our
hospital. For my wife, Nienke Klaver and me, this news came as quite a
surprise. We thought this action was unacceptable and figured that other
residents would also find it unacceptable. Nienke began a petition and
shortly afterwards we organized a meeting involving the Town of Princeton,
Area H, our MLA and several Princeton residents to discuss our concerns.
It was at this meeting that Save our Hospital Coalition was formed.

Since that time SOHC has sent a 3600 signature petition to the Minister of
Health, organized a Public Forum, held public rallies, met with officials from
IHA, joined like minded provincial organizations, and gathered information
aimed at developing an improved and sustainable healthcare model with
Princeton General Hospital at its core.

One of the organizations that we joined was the Rural Health Services
Research Network of BC and this evening I’m pleased to introduce their
Network Coordinator, Alisha Zacharias who has come all the way from
Vancouver to participate in this Consultation. Welcome, Alisha. Alisha will
be acting as one of our facilitators this evening.

Through our involvement with this organization and thanks to Alisha’s
assistance we participated in a conference that was held in Kelowna on
October 2nd and 3rd, entitled Shaping Health Services and Policy through
Research. One of the sessions we attended was entitled Conducting Interviews and Focus Groups, presented by Dr. Barbara Pesut from UBC Okanagan. We were very impressed with her presentation and went up to her afterwards to find out if it would be possible to organize a qualitative research project in Princeton. She was very receptive to the idea and through followup emails and telephone calls we began the process that brings us to this evening’s consultation.

We are very fortunate to have Barb Pesut here this evening. Over the past
several months I’ve gotten to know Barb and have been impressed by her
professionalism, her methodical organizational skills, and her generosity.
You should know that she and her research team are volunteering their
time and effort and are being sponsored by the University of British
Columbia-Okanagan School of Nursing.

And so at this time it’s my pleasure to introduce to you, Dr. Barbara Pesut
and her team. Thanks Barb and I’ll turn it over to you.

(Barbara Pesut then introduced her research team, described the consultation process, and the participants were divided into focus groups to respond to the question presented by the facilitators. The group then reassembled in the theatre to hear the recorders present the results.)

Closing Comments

Once again, let me thank everyone for coming this evening and for sharing
your knowledge and experience in this Community Consultation. I would
like to acknowledge the participation of Dan Ashton, RDOS Board Chair;
Manfred Bauer, Similkameen Valley Planning Society Chair and Mayor of
Keremeos; and Walter Despot, Director on the South Okanagan
Similkameen Medical Foundation.

Tonight’s consultation represents the first of many steps that we plan to
take in our efforts to develop an improved healthcare model for Princeton
and Area. The next part of the Consultation process will be a number of
follow-up interviews conducted by Dr. Pesut and her research team. Once
they’ve collected all their data, they will be writing a report that we will
share with the community. From this report we plan to involve the
community and the Interior Health Authority in the development of
recommendations. And the final, and probably the most time consuming
step, will be the implementation of the recommendations. All of this will take
time, but we are optimistic that with support from the community, we will be
successful in our goal.

I would like to personally thank the members of the Princeton Healthcare
Community Consultation Committee: Councillor Marilyn Harkness,
representing the Town of Princeton; Area H Regional Director Brad Hope;
Susan Brown from Interior Health; and Nienke Klaver, Secretary of SOHC.

I would also like to thank the focus group facilitators: Sharan Jung, Princeton Skills Centre; Lynelle
Erbacker, UBC Okanagan; and Alisha Zacharias, Rural Health Services Research Network of BC. And the recorders, Miranda Dalhuisen and Victoria Owen, UBC Okanagan, and Councillor Marilyn Harkness.

Also to the members of the SOHC executive who helped with the setup.
Thanks to Spencer Coyne, and Penny and Chris Goodfellow for their work. Chris and Spencer handled the
chairs and tables and Penny was in charge of refreshments.

And I would especially like to thank Dr. Barbara Pesut and her research
team for their dedication and commitment to helping our community in our
efforts. Barb, you have been an inspiration and we can’t thank you enough.

Before we adjourn, I have one announcement to make. On Monday,
February 25th, the Save Our Hospital Coalition will be presenting a guest
speaker here in Riverside at 7:00 pm. The speaker is Gloria Levi who is the
coordinator of Integrated Care Advocacy, a seniors group working to
provide more effective home care for the elderly, to maintain and sustain
elders in their homes, and empowering elders to experience a more
desirable quality of life. You are all invited to attend so please mark
February 25th on your calendars.

Thanks again for participating in tonight’s Consultation.

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