Latest Story

Panel discussion – BC Health Coalition Conference 2017

November 3, 2017

BCHC Friday 100_preview-Colleen Fuller

From left to right: Marcy Cohen – moderator (health and social policy researcher), Colleen Fuller (health policy analyst,Board of Directors of REACH Community Health Centre in Vancouver), Edward Staples (President of SOHC (Support Our Health Care), member of the BCHC Steering Committee, member of the Princeton Health Care Steeringng Committee, and the South Okanagan Similkameen Community Healthcare Coalition), Dr. Margaret McGregor (Family Physician, Director of the UBC Dep. of Family Practice, Community Geriatrics, a research assciate with the VCHRI’s centre for Clinical Epidemiology & Evaluation and the UBC Centre for Health Services and Policy), Anita Shen (student of nursing and a former youth in government care), Kerrie Watt (Youth Mental Health & Substance Use Prevention Educator with Vancouver Coastal Health)

Questions to Ed Staples, President of SOHC, are in Italic
1. Can you describe the role of the community in advocating for and working with local health professionals to address the gaps/challenges in health services in your and other rural communities, and can you explain why and how primary care reform is seen as key in addressing these problems?

To address the first part, the role of the community, quite simply, is to identify what’s needed and to establish a collaborative and cooperative relationship with all community stakeholders to make change happen.

It is critically important for there to be a “community” voice.  Otherwise, the professionals – the doctors, administrators, and bureaucrats – will view the world as the aggregate of their specific, unique patients, and the formal funding and legal structures surrounding them – mostly government and especially provincial government supported and directed.

Without a community voice, those “forgotten” or structurally denied services will continue to be part of the huge “blind spot”, the gaps/challenges that exist in our communities.

Community organizations such as Support Our Health Care provide a more adequate view of need and priority for service, providing they talk directly to the providers and funders using persuasive public processes of research and community consultation.

The second part of this question, the importance of primary care reform, is harder to answer. The myriad healthcare models that exist in rural communities across the province are the result of communities doing the best they can with what they have. Each community healthcare model, no matter what you call it, is born of necessity rather than design. However, if you were to examine the various models, I think you’d find some common determinants:

1. personnel – service delivery is wholly dependent on the healthcare personnel available at any given time – and that can change monthly, weekly, daily
– range of specialties – knowledge of each other’s skill set is critical to the
delivery of a team based, multi-disciplinary primary care model
– expertise, experience, and character
– living location

2. healthcare infrastructure
– location of physical facilities – spread over the community or all under one roof
– size and layout

3. community infrastructure
– size of local health area
– transportation services
– distance and time

4. population health profile
– average life expectancy
– chronic disease prevalence rate
– health behaviour indicators – diet, exercise, alcohol consumption
– perceived health

2. What are some of the ways that the provincial government, health authorities and Divisions of Family Practice could be providing more support for primary care reform initiatives in rural communities across the province?

First, it is important to understand that there’s no single path, no single model that will work for all communities. The model of healthcare that works best for each community is born out of necessity rather than design. The available services determine the model.
Read more »

BC Health Coalition 2017 Conference

October 20, 2017

We’re only two weeks away from the BC Health Coalition 2017 Conference, an exciting two full days of speakers, and workshops. Discussions and topics include seniors care, primary health care, Indigenous health, health organizing, poverty reduction, pharmacare and others. This is a unique opportunity to learn together, strategize and take action to strengthen our public health care system in B.C. Click here to register.

Dates: Friday, October 27th to Saturday, October 28th, 2017
Times: 11 am to 4:30 pm on Friday, 8:30 am to 3:30 pm on Saturday
Location: Jewish Community Centre,  950 41st Ave W, Vancouver, BC V5Z 2N7
Cost: $0-$75 sliding scale. No one will be turned away due to lack of funds.

The Conference Is An Opportunity To…
• Hear from Jenny Morgan, BC Women’s and Children’s Hospitals, and Elder Roberta Price, First Nations educator, speak about empowering Indigenous women and families in health services and healing.
Read more »

Quiet Moments

September 22, 2017

Version 2

A resident in our long term care facility likes to eat his lunch in the hallway of the hospital where he can look at a mural. Edward Staples, President of SOHC, made the ceramic tile mural and donated it to the hospital. The mural, entitled Emerge, depicts an iconic and very familiar place in Princeton.

Petition in support of fair taxes for our docs

September 13, 2017

Proposed changes to federal corporate income tax laws have the potential to destabilize our already fragile health care service.

Dan Albas, our Member of Parliament (Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola), is sponsoring a petition initiated by Dr. Geoffrey Sanz of Kelowna. The following is from an email to SOHC from MP Albas: “I too am very concerned. I have been speaking to MDs and small business owners from across our riding and the country. Obviously any new legislation will be hotly contested by me in Parliament but many people want to help their physician or make their point directly to the Government.”

Please sign the petition in support of our local doctors.

Click here to sign petition


August 24, 2017

Monthly Archives: July 2017
By Art Martens

JULY 30, 2017

Tim Robbins - community Paramedicine

Tim Roberts, Community Paramedic

“I know the name of every person represented by a white cross along the highway,” Tim Roberts told Linda and me last week. As a paramedic, he has been called to the scene of numerous tragic accidents in the Similkameen Valley. When he arrived at our home, he was wearing a uniform representing Community Paramedicine, a new service being offered to local citizens.

Tim and I came to know each other when we worked together in a program for emotionally disturbed youths at the One Way Adventure Foundation in Hedley. After that our paths intersected only occasionally. I was interested in hearing how life circumstances had prepared him for his current challenging role.
Read more »

Healthcare leaders want drug company payments to doctors made public

August 16, 2017

Letter to federal health minister says more transparency means more trust in the system
By Andrew Foote, CBC News Posted: Aug 11, 2017 1:32 PM ET Last Updated: Aug 11, 2017 1:32 PM ET


A group of Canadian healthcare leaders wants pharmaceutical companies to have to disclose how and why they pay people who prescribe their drugs, saying it would show potential bias and help build trust.
Seventeen people signed an open letter sent to Health Minister Jane Philpott this week, saying Canada should follow the lead of countries such as France, Denmark and the United States, which require pharmaceutical companies tell the government about payments to prescribers as small as $10 US.
• Read the letter here
Dr. Chris Simpson, vice-dean of the Queen’s University medical school in Kingston, Ont., and signee of the letter, said these companies can pitch their products to doctors by hosting them for a lunch and giving a talk about a drug or giving them free samples for patients who couldn’t otherwise afford them.
“I think it’s important to point out these payments aren’t nefarious or bad, it’s just that when payments are made from a drug company to a prescriber who may be prescribing drugs made by that company, that there may be biases introduced,” he said.
“These biases may not even be bad, they just need to be recognized and put into context.”

To read more, please click on the link:

Healthcare leaders want drug company payments to doctors made public

Billing practices of 3 B.C. clinics to be audited

August 12, 2017

Jane Philpott
A tweet by Jane Philpott: We will protect public healthcare so people get the care they need based on how sick they are; not how rich they are.

VANCOUVER — The Globe and Mail
To read the full article, click on the following link:

Billing practices of 3 B.C. clinics subject to audit

Published Thursday, Aug. 10, 2017 3:51PM EDT
Last updated Friday, Aug. 11, 2017 7:32AM EDT

British Columbia has put three private health clinics under audit amid long-standing concerns about the practice of double-dipping, looking at doctors who work in the public system and who also charge some patients extra fees for quicker access to medical care.

Federal Health Minister Jane Philpott and her newly appointed B.C. counterpart, Adrian Dix, say three of the province’s several dozen clinics are being examined for billing patients extra for medically necessary care, a violation of the Canada Health Act.
Read more »


To become a member of SOHC, please
email the secretary.
Annual membership is $2.

SOHC Discussion Paper

Developing an Improved and Sustainable Health Care Model for Princeton, B.C
Support Our Health Care has released a discussion paper in order to get feedback from the community, politicians and professionals about the state of local healthcare and what the long term solutions should be.
Download PDF Here