After hearing back from the Interior Health Authority it doesn’t have a mandate to discuss boundary changes, the Cariboo Chilcotin Regional Hospital District is going to make one more effort to have a meeting with the authority.
In April the CCRHD wrote a letter advising Northern Health and Interior Health it wanted to initiate a discussion to explore the potential advantages of the entire CCRHD being located within Northern Health.
Replying on July 18, IH Board of Directors Chair Norm Embree said boundary changes fall under the purview of the Legislative Assembly.
“Potential changes as you have discussed fall outside the authority of the health authorities,” Embree wrote, adding IH believes it is inappropriate to engage in a discussion that is inconsistent with its mandate and provincial direction.
Unhappy with the response from Embree, the CCRHD board passed a motion at its regular meeting Aug. 24 to write another letter insisting on a chance to have a discussion.
“I want to express our disappointment that they are reluctant or there’s an absence of an offer to have a discussion,” CRD chair Al Richmond said.
“We have some issues with what’s going on, and Cariboo Memorial Hospital is an example, as well as recruitment and retention issues. I think we need to give them one more opportunity to talk about their service delivery model and how they meet the needs of rural communities in comparison to Northern Health.”
He also said he was disappointed that Interior Health wasn’t willing to come and hear the board’s concerns.
Area H director Margo Wagner said she felt the board should write the minister of health.
“I feel we’ve given Interior Health more than enough opportunity to respond to our concerns. The fact that they themselves have brought up that it’s inconsistent with their mandate and inconsistent with provincial direction indicates that they are looking for a higher authority than us to start engaging them.
“I think we can write a letter, but then we’re just wasting another four to six weeks. This probably needs to get going sooner rather than later and if they’re going to pull out the mandate and the provincial direction part then I think we should take it to the minister of health.”
During the meeting, the board deferred a motion to write to the minister of health for up to six months, pending any subsequent meeting with IH.
Wagner, however, was opposed to that motion.
Williams Lake Mayor Kerry Cook, who also sits on the CRD board, questioned if picking a fight with Interior Health will serve the taxpayers’ best interest.
“We can fight or we work to get the decisions made so we can get the upgrades to the hospital,” she said.
100 Mile House Mayor Mitch Campsall, also a board member, described the letter from IH as an insult.
“It’s almost like they don’t care, that we’re a small community and we don’t matter. It’s an insult to my community, to my doctors, and to staff members in hospitals in our area. I really take offense to it.”
In an e-mail IH told the Tribune it is always interested in meeting with officials to answer any questions or concerns they may have.