After seeing the successes of the primary health care clinics in Prince George and Quesnel, Interior Health is pursuing establishing one in Williams Lake.
“We are in the beginning stages of talking about it,” said IH president and CEO Chris Mazurkewich during a recent visit to Williams Lake. “Our executive team toured one in Prince George and we toured the one in Quesnel with Cariboo Chilcotin Regional Hospital District chair John Massier.”
During a tour of communities in the Cariboo-Chilcotin, some of the First Nations communities were asking for a primary care clinic rather than having people always have to go the emergency room at Cariboo Memorial Hospital in Williams Lake.
“They were also suggesting there should be a First Nations focus in the clinic as well,” Mazurkewich said, noting one of the five strategic directions is to enhance primary care and to look at ways to work with local physicians and health workers to achieve that goal.
Touring the vast region he said he acquired a respect for the geography and independence exhibited by the First Nations communities.
CMH master plan
The master plan to upgrade Cariboo Memorial Hospital is now in the hands of the Minister of Health, Mazurkewich said.
“I’m always hopeful when we submit something, sooner or later we will get approval. It lays in the hands of the Minister of Health and the government to make that decision to fund it.”
Praising the CCRHD for its support and willingness to fund the planning document and contribute 40 per cent to the master plan’s implementation.
“There’s community support for it, so we wait to see what questions come our way, and what questions are asked about the plan from the government.”
Volumes are considerably high for what the CMH emergency department was designed for, Mazurkewich added.
“There is definitely a need for the master plan to proceed. But the government has lots of priorities.”