It hasn’t taken long for the Seniors Advisory Council in Williams Lake to invite the new Minister of State for Seniors to come to the lake city.
Ralph Sultan will be here on Oct. 17 to meet with the council and local seniors are invited to attend.
“How cool is that,” SAC chair Audrey MacLise says. “We’ve never had a minister for seniors come out to us. Ralph is new so we’re very interested in what he has to say.”
MacLise heard Sultan wanted to come to Williams Lake so the council decided it would invite him to attend its next meeting.
“He was very pleased,” MacLise explains.
The main topic will be the Cariboo Memorial Hospital Master Plan, an item very high on SAC’s agenda.
MacLise wants to let Sultan know that Interior Health needs to commit to Williams Lake.
“When I visit Kelowna and Vernon I see that they have become vital health centres, which has been very good for their city because it brings people in. I saw a lot of seniors down there. We’re not in a very good position to compete for professionals to work in our hospital and we won’t be until this plan is complete and a functional plan is made.”
Chuckling she doesn’t discard the idea of taking to the street with signs to raise awareness.
She also thinks the province of British Columbia has yet to embrace nurse practitioners.
“They are very well received and their talents are used in Alberta, Ontario and many other provinces, but B.C. has not. We’ve lost a couple that were here because they couldn’t get a contract with Interior Health. They can do anything that a physician can do, except write a prescription for narcotics, which most of them don’t want to do anyway. We should be working hard to attract nurse practitioners to our community.”
MacLise says IH needs to know that people are desperate enough to make some moves.
“We’ve got to get on to Interior Health about some of these things. I’m not worried about ruffling some feathers, that’s just what I’d like to do.”
Mayor Kerry Cook says the city will meet with Sultan when he’s here and that council met with him while at the Union of BC Municipalities conference.
“We have a list of strategic top priorities and the hospital is on that list.
“We had three meetings about the hospital and moving the master plan forward — one with Interior Health and two minister meetings.”
The meeting with will take place Oct. 17 at the Cariboo Regional District library at 1:30 p.m.