Meeting aimed at creating roadmap to better care in the Nicola Valley

By on October 26, 2017
(Herald file photo).

 

The second in a series of community-wide meetings regarding health care in the Nicola Valley is scheduled for Nov. 2, and organizers are hoping to hear from a swath of Merrittonians.

A list of the community’s health care needs was created at the group’s first meeting in June. The follow-up meeting scheduled for the beginning of November is aimed at creating an action plan to bring the desired services into the Nicola Valley, stated a press release from city councillor Kurt Christopherson.

The two-hour meeting is scheduled to start at 7 p.m. at the Civic Centre, and those interested in participating are invited to RSVP to City Hall by calling 250-378-4224 and asking for Coun. Christopherson. Alternatively, you can email any of the councillors who are serving on the committee: Coun. Linda Brown (lbrown@merritt.ca), Coun. Diana Norgaard (dnorgaard@merritt.ca), or Christopherson (kchristopherson@merritt.ca).

Merrittonians proud of their hospital staff, but see a gap in addiction services

After the conclusion of June’s meeting, which involved 50 stakeholders from different community organizations and backgrounds, a report was circulated detailing what locals saw as strengths and deficiencies with health care in the Nicola Valley.

The findings from this initial meeting indicated that Merrittonians have a great deal of pride in the staff and services provided out of the Nicola Valley Hospital. According to the report, the area most commonly identified as a strength of health care in the Valley were emergency services at the Nicola Valley Hospital.

ER staff, both doctors and nurses, were singled out and praised for their dedication and professionalism, despite the perception that they were also overworked. Services provided through ASKWellness and the Gillis House also received praise for valuable work done in the community with vulnerable and elderly populations.

However, the report also identified several trends as to where locals see gaps in the quality of care available — especially when it comes to mental health.

A “need for more and improved access to mental health services” was the top response at June’s meeting, with respondents reporting that the lack of access to mental health services in the community is a serious problem.

Closely related to mental health issues, Merrittonians also indicated that there was a need for more attention to be paid to the substance abuse issues, including both alcohol and drug use in the community.

Another popular topic was maternity in the Nicola Valley. Currently, there is no delivery room at the Nicola Valley Hospital, and a general lack of maternity services was viewed as an area of concern.

The full report is available here.

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