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In the News

  • Fake patients, real training: New lab to provide vital health care practice

    June 28, 2017

    Mission City Record​: The computerized mannequins may not be real, but the lessons learned will be. A new regional “simulation lab” – the brainchild of a group of local doctors, nurses and respiratory therapists – will give local health care workers a space to practice communication, teamwork and skills they use to treat sick patients. This week, the Fraser Valley Health Care Foundation received a $370,250 from the Fraser Valley Regional Hospital District to finance initial start-up costs for new lab, which will be built at Abbotsford Regional Hospital and open next March. Read/watch the full story >

  • After 35 years, doctor says palliative care 'one of the most rewarding things I've done'

    June 27, 2017

    CBC News​: A West Vancouver leader in the field of palliative medicine is being honoured for 35 years of service. Dr Paul Sugar, who works at Lions Gate Hospital, was lauded for his work caring for people with serious and terminal illnesses by Vancouver Coastal Health. "A lot of people say, 'how can you do that work?' and 'good for you for doing that, because it must be so hard,'" he told On The Coast guest host Gloria Macarenko. "But the fact is, I think it's one of the most rewarding things I've done in medicine." Read/listen to the full story >

  • BC Interior hospitals hire new security officers for emergency departments

    June 26, 2017

    CBC News​: BC's Interior Health Authority has hired 'client service ambassadors' in attempt, officials say, to make the emergency departments in three busy hospitals safer. Starting Monday, the new security personnel will be stationed at Kelowna General Hospital, Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops and Vernon Jubilee Hospital. Read the full story >

  • Pain drove BC woman and 'thousands' to street drugs after medication cut off

    June 25, 2017

    CBC News​: Desperate for relief from unbearable pain following knee surgery, Lorna Bird says she was forced to buy drugs from the Downtown Eastside streets of Vancouver when her doctor stopped prescribing an opioid in response to new standards aimed at preventing fatal overdoses. "I started with heroin because I couldn't stand the pain," Bird said, recalling her fears about dying from fentanyl-laced street drugs because "everybody was croaking" and she didn't want her grandchildren dealing with that outcome. Read the full story >

  • Island Health opts to move Comox hospice beds to secular facility

    June 23, 2017

    Times Colonist: Comox Valley residents who want access to medical assistance in dying are celebrating a decision to move the region’s hospice beds into a secular space. The Comox Valley’s four hospice beds are hosted in Hospice at the Views, which is run by St. Joseph’s General Hospital. As a faith-based facility, it does not allow assisted dying. Those four beds, as well as two new ones, will be located together in a different location, said Elin Bjarnason, executive lead for end-of-life and medical quality at Island Health. Read the full story >

  • Regional support to attract doctors

    June 22, 2017

    The Invermere Valley Echo​: The East Kootenay Division of Family Practice was the happy recipient of $20,000 from the Regional District of East Kootenay (RDEK). The general administration grant was approved to help support recruitment and retention of family physicians for the years 2017 and 2018. The RDEK and Columbia Basin Trust have provided the Division with funding in the past to help improve care through supporting a coordinator, who is tasked with a focus on recruitment and retention of family physicians. Read the full story >

  • Kelowna woman concerned over quality of care at KGH

    June 22, 2017

    Global News BC​: A Kelowna woman is speaking out about troubling incidents she’s experienced at Kelowna General Hospital in recent weeks. “This isn’t just about making me feel better. This is about saving my life,” Jesska Brewin said. Confined to a wheel chair the last 3 months, Jesska Brewin’s body is slowly being crippled by a severe form of Graves disease. Read/watch the full story >

  • Bulkley Lodge wait times have increased

    June 22, 2017

    The Interior News​: The waitlist for the Bulkley Lodge is longer than normal with more patients waiting in the hospital. The long-term residential care facility in Smithers always operates at 100 per cent capacity but there are currently 16 people waiting to get in. Normally, the wait list fluctuates between 9 and 13. There are 70 beds in total, 53 are long-term, three are short-term, and 14 are for the regional psycho-geriatric population. Read the full story >

  • Letter to the editor: Splitting hospice beds would be a poor decision

    June 21, 2017

    Times Colonist: Re: “More secular care sought,” June 18. I have a dear friend in hospice at The Views, so I agree the care is exceptional. I also know this is in part because my community funds the Comox Valley Hospice Society, which enhances care and supports for people who are dying at home, in residential care, in hospital and in the hospice. Regardless, I am disappointed Island Health is contemplating a decision that would continue to make access to hospice care for Comox Valley residents different than everywhere else on Vancouver Island. Read the full letter >

  • Terrace, BC doctor receives high honour

    June 21, 2017

    Terrace Standard​: Retired local physician Dr Geoff Appleton has been given an award for his more than 40 years of work in improving rural medicine. Presented by the Doctors of BC, the association which represents physicians in dealings with the provincial government and in moving the profession forward, the Silver Medal is awarded to those who have made outstanding contributions to medicine and/or to improving the welfare of BC residents. Read the full story >

  • New medical care model

    June 20, 2017

    Kelowna Capital News​: Six family practices in the Central Okanagan are looking for nurses to join them in the move toward a model of care that aims to improve patient access to care, build capacity in practices, and optimize providers’ expertise. “Nurses joining these practices will be integral members of a patient care team, working together with doctors to streamline care, especially for patients with complex health needs,” said Dr. Janet Evans, Nurse in Practice Lead for the Central Okanagan Division of Family Practice, a non-profit society representing family doctors from Kelowna, West Kelowna, Lake Country and Peachland. Read the full story >

  • Step Into the Light Walk Raises Awareness and Support for New Parents

    June 19, 2017

    The Castlegar Source​: Grand Forks City Park is the place people can meet Saturday (June 24th) at 10:30 a.m. to participate in the ‘Step Into the Light’ walk for women’s health. When the new baby arrives in a family, most people assume it is a time of love and celebration. What many new moms don’t expect is that they might struggle to adjust or that she may feel isolation, exhaustion, or even a lack of love for her child. Becoming a mother is often viewed as one of the happiest times of life, yet one in seven find the adjustment to difficult and can suffer from crippling depression, anxiety, doubt or guilt that can also affect dads and impact families. Step Into the Light invites moms, dads, sisters, brothers, grandparents, friends and all other family members to walk together on Saturday, June 24th to bring attention to this important issue. Read the full story >

  • Worried about access to assisted dying, group seeks more secular care in Comox Valley

    June 18, 2017

    Times Colonist​: A group of residents is calling for secular long-term and hospice care in the Comox Valley, since medical assistance in dying has been denied at faith-based facilities. The Equal Access Committee has collected about 1,000 signatures on a petition directed at Island Health and the provincial Ministry of Health. Read the full story >

  • Accessibility week to highlight success, needs

    June 17, 2017

    Parksville Qualicum Beach News​: Highlighting recent achievements in accessibility — and lobbying for more — will be the focus during Accessibility Week in Oceanside June 19-24. Universal Access Qualicum Beach (UAQB) and Parksville-based Access Oceanside Association (AOA) are joining forces in a week of activities, ranging from walk/wheelabout events with mayors and staff in both communities to spiritual and holistic workshops to watersport activities for wheelchair-bound residents at Parksville’s beach. Read the full story >

  • No easy solution to doctor shortage in the South Okanagan

    June 16, 2017

    InfoTel News​: A walk-in clinic wouldn’t help alleviate emergency medical treatment in Oliver or Osoyoos, regional board directors were told yesterday. South Okanagan Similkameen Division of Family Practice project manager Aarin Frigon said because emergency ward doctors at South Okanagan General Hospital Oliver are paid through fees for service, a walk-in clinic in the town would likely diminish the need for residents to get treatment at the hospital, further reducing a doctor’s incentive in a situation where emergency ward staffing is already an issue. Read the full story >

  • Youth health clinic pilot project on now in Sidney

    June 15, 2017

    Victoria News​: There’s a new after-hours clinic in Sidney and this one is for young people who might be reluctant to see their family’s doctor, or who might not have a physician at all. The Peninsula Youth Health Clinic opened on a trial basis two weeks ago and will be open every Thursday evening from 6 to 8 p.m. in June and July. It’s at the Ocean Pier Medical Clinic on Beacon Avenue, where a youth medical services will be provided by practicing physicians. Services such as prescriptions, pregnancy tests, sports injuries, birth control and more will be offered to youth between the ages of 12 and 24. Read the full story >

  • Island Health president leaving for post in Ontario, closer to his family

    June 15, 2017

    Times Colonist​: Island Health president and CEO Dr. Brendan Carr has announced he’s leaving the position. Carr said he is taking a new role as president and chief executive officer of the William Osler Health System in Ontario, which will take him closer to family. Kathy MacNeil, Island Health’s executive vice-president for quality, safety and experience, will serve as interim president and CEO until a new leader is hired. Read the full story >

  • Canadian hospitals vulnerable to hackers, warns health-care expert

    June 15, 2017

    Vancouver Sun​: There are only two kinds of hospitals in Canada: those that know they’ve been hacked and those that just don’t realize it yet. That is among the wisdom that Bill Tholl, president and CEO of HealthCareCAN, has picked up over the last two years while working on a plan to keep Canadian health-care providers safe from cyber attacks. “The health-care sector is a target of cyber-hackers. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a small hospital or a large hospital,” said Tholl, whose organization speaks for health-care groups and hospitals across Canada. Read the full story >

  • Health care gaps identified on the North Island

    June 14, 2017

    North Island Gazette​: A community meeting in Port McNeill has raised concerns from residents regarding health care research. Two consultants, Melanie Mogus and Helena Trudel, gave a presentation at the Community Hall which identified gaps in North Island services. Some of the areas identified at the meeting on June 7 were transportation issues, lack of home care support, empty hospital beds, and a lack of long-term residential care facilities in the region. The research was part of a collaborative working group’s effort to collect health data specific to the North Island. Read the full story >

  • Forum on future of seniors residential and hospice care

    June 13, 2017

    Comox Valley Record​: The Equal Access Committee is pleased to announce that it will be hosting a public forum to discuss the future of seniors residential and hospice care in the Comox Valley. The meeting is Wednesday, June 21 at 7 p.m. at the Comox Community Centre at 1855 Noel Ave. The committee is a citizens group committed to ensuring that residents of the Comox Valley have the best possible residential and hospice care when needed, as well as full access to all of their legal rights, specifically MAiD, without faith–based restriction or transfer because of the faith–based beliefs of the institution providing that care – the same access to care available everywhere else on Vancouver Island. Read the full story >

  • CYMHSU wants to hear mental health stories

    June 12, 2017

    Revelstoke Review​: The Child & Youth Mental Health & Substance Use team wants to hear stories from youth aged 6-24 dealing with mental health issues. The local action team is putting together a ‘Pathways to Care’ document featuring a network of practitioners, services and resources available to youth in Revelstoke experiencing mental health and substance use challenges. Read the full story >

  • Doctors seek clarity on who gets medical help in dying

    June 10, 2017

    Times Colonist​: A group of doctors wants to clarify who qualifies for medical assistance in dying to help practitioners who work in isolated areas. Dr. Jonathan Reggler, the Comox Valley-based family doctor who led a committee that created a new guideline for practitioners this month, said the language used in assisted-dying legislation puts doctors in a difficult position. Read the full story >

  • Some doctors are charging both government and patients privately in illegal double-dipping practice

    June 10, 2017

    The Globe and Mail​: Rosalia Guthrie is still astounded that it cost her $4,350 to get her shoulder injury assessed by a surgeon who works in Canada's public health-care system. She had been waiting in agony for 16 months to see Dr. William Regan when she called his office, asking how much longer it would be. His secretary gave her the number of another clinic to call – so she did. That's when Ms. Guthrie learned there was another way in to see the surgeon – with no lineup. Read the full story >

  • Overlander Residential Care celebrating 40th anniversary

    June 08, 2017

    Kamloops BC Now​: Overlander Residential Care is celebrated its 40th anniversary this week, recognizing four decades of family with residents and staff. Interior Health says Sharon Lyall is the last remaining staff member from the early days and, though some concepts in health care have evolved immensely over the last 40 years, the family atmosphere has remained constant as workers continue serving as surrogate family for those who call Overlander home. Read the full story >

  • Local doctor wins award

    June 08, 2017

    Prince George Citizen​: A local physician recently received the My Family Doctor award, which acknowledges the doctor-patient relationship. Dr. Cecilia Siegling of Prince George was presented the award from the B.C. College of Family Physicians in Vancouver on Saturday. "This award is to honour and celebrate the relationship between a family doctor and their patient and this relationship is very important in providing health care - it's integral," Siegling said, who graduated from the University of Pretoria in South Africa in 1999, came to Canada in 2002 and settled in Prince George in 2006. Read the full story >

  • Project studies chronic pain

    June 07, 2017

    Powell River Peak​: Over the next two years, the Powell River Division of Family Practice will conduct an extensive investigation on chronic pain. Community members have contributed to a funding proposal for the large undertaking to address an even larger health issue in Powell River. Read the full story >

  • Lake declared 'hero' for work on opioid crisis

    June 07, 2017

    CFJC Today​: Four years to the day after he was appointed BC's Minister of Health, Terry Lake has been honoured for his leadership in addressing the province's opioid crisis. At a breakfast in Halifax this morning, Lake was given the National Public Health Hero award by the Canadian Public Health Association (CPHA). In recognizing Lake, the CPHA said he provided "unwavering support... for the declaration of a public health emergency and the subsequent actions to stem the tide of tragic deaths from illegal drug overdoses in BC." Read and watch the full story >

  • Walk-in clinic in Central Saanich needs more patients to better serve community

    June 06, 2017

    Peninsula News Review​: A Brentwood Bay walk-in clinic is reaching out to the community in search of more patients; a stark contrast to the only other clinic in Central Saanich that, most mornings, has a lineup out the door prior to opening. The shortage of doctors on the Saanich Peninsula isn’t a new issue. Around 30 per cent of the 65,000 patients on the Peninsula are without a doctor. In response to this Sienna Bourdon and Mark Sherman, physicians and co-managers of the family practice side at the Bayside Medical Centre in Brentwood Bay, opened a walk-in clinic last year at 7226 West Saanich Rd. Read the full story >

  • At least 2,458 Canadians died from opioid-related overdoses in 2016: report

    June 06, 2017

    CBC News​: At least 2,458 Canadians died from apparent opioid-related overdoses in 2016, the Public Health Agency of Canada says. That amounts to seven people a day dying from opioid use, the agency said Tuesday on behalf of the federal, provincial, territorial Special Advisory Committee on the Epidemic of Opioid Overdoses. In April, the committee agreed to define apparent opioid-related death as one caused by intoxication or poisoning as a result of drug use, when one of the drugs is an opioid. On Monday, Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson called fentanyl-related overdose deaths in the city a "bloodbath" with no end in sight. Fentanyl is an especially powerful opioid. Read the full story >

  • Doctors of BC call for collaboration and solutions on IHealth

    June 02, 2017

    Nanaimo News Bulletin​: The president of Doctors of BC appealed to Island Health to work with physicians on appropriate and meaningful solutions around IHealth during a visit to Nanaimo this week. Dr Alan Ruddiman, whose organization represents 12,000 doctors, is encouraging collaboration between Nanaimo Medical Staff Association and Island Health on solutions that serve patients well and suggests a mediator in the event of an impasse. Read the full story >

  • Doctors of BC puts health authority on warning over Nanaimo CPOE system

    June 02, 2017

    Canadian Healthcare Network​: With tension rising at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital (NRGH) over an error-prone computerized physician order entry (CPOE) system some internists are refusing to use for ethical reasons, you could say British Columbia’s medical society just put the health authority—Island Health—on warning. Representing 12,000 physician members, Doctors of BC president Dr. Alan Ruddiman, traveled from Vancouver to attend an emergency meeting of the Nanaimo Medical Staff Association (MSA) on May 31. Physician/health authority conflicts over the CPOE’s safety have reached a point where, as MSA president and internist Dr. David Forrest put it in an interview, “I think there is a real risk of internal medicine services (at NRGH) imploding.” Read the full story >

  • Clinic closing due to lack of doctors in Maple Ridge

    June 02, 2017

    Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows News​: A shortage of doctors has led to the closing of a walk-in clinic in Maple Ridge. The privately owned Ridge Meadows Care Clinic, located at 22932 Lougheed Highway, will shut its doors for the final time on July 31. “There’s a physician shortage here, and across BC it’s a problem,” said Treena Innes, executive director of the Ridge Meadows Division of Family Practice. Read the full story >

  • Powell River Wellness project continues

    June 02, 2017

    Powell River Peak​: One year after officially launching last spring, more than 1,500 residents in the Powell River region have completed the Powell River Wellness Challenge. To further engage the community, a speaker's forum will be held from 6-8:30 pm at Max Cameron Theatre on Thursday, June 8. The forum features local and visiting speakers, including Powell River Kings head coach Kent Lewis, bestselling author Cea Person, registered holistic nutritionist Emma Levez Larocque, educator Frank Radcliffe, counsellor Kathseva and iWellness advisor Christine Lippa. Read the full story >

  • Richmond getting its first community health hub

    June 01, 2017

    Richmond News​: Richmond will finally get its first-ever community health centre, after a deal was struck to rent space in a renovated City Centre building. As Richmond is one of the few Lower Mainland communities without a CHC (community health centre), the move sent a ripple of excitement through the local healthcare community, which is acutely aware of the need for such a facility. The centre will be based in 27,000-square-feet of space in a refurbished, three-storey building on the corner of Alderbridge Way and Lansdowne Road and is expected to open sometime late in 2018, after Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) signed a lease agreement last week. Read the full story >

  • IHealth records system still putting patients at risk at Nanaimo hospital, doctors say

    June 01, 2017

    CBC News​: More than a year after an electronic health records system was introduced at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital, doctors say patient safety is still at risk. Physicians and other medical staff have been raising concerns about IHealth since it was rolled out 14 months ago. Island Health planned to temporarily suspend the use of IHealth's electronic tool for ordering medications in February, following an external review that was ordered by BC's health minister. But the health authority later decided it would be too difficult to safely go back to pen and paper orders. Instead, it decided it would be best to work on improvements while continuing to use the system. The situation has put Nanaimo doctors in a difficult position, said Doctors of BC president Dr. Alan Ruddiman, during a visit to the hospital on Thursday. Read the full article >

  • Cowichan urologist says more resources desperately needed

    May 31, 2017

    Cowichan Valley Citizen​: Long wait times for urological surgeries and procedures in the Cowichan Valley are among concerns being raised by Dr. William Nielsen. Nielsen, the Valley’s only urologist, said urology services in the area are currently funded for just about 50 per cent per person of what is available in Vancouver and Victoria. He said the situation is only getting worse as the local population grows, and what was once a six-month wait for a prostate resection procedure in the Valley is now two years. Nielsen said waiting times for urological elective surgeries in Victoria are currently between six and eight months. Read the full story >

  • CIHI partners with First Nations to enhance health data quality in BC

    May 31, 2017

    First Nations Health Authority​: The First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) in British Columbia and the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI​) have formalized a partnership aimed at supporting better health outcomes for First Nations and Aboriginal peoples. The partnership will centre on improving access to data, analyses and expertise, as well as data governance, management and quality, to improve the health and wellness of First Nations living in BC. Read the full story >

  • BC opioid crisis: Province on pace for more than 1,400 overdose deaths in 2017

    May 31, 2017

    Vancouver Sun​: It’s been more than a year since BC’s provincial health officer Dr Perry Kendall declared a public health emergency in response to a surge in drug-related overdoses and deaths, but the opioid death toll continues to climb at an alarming rate. There were 488 illicit drug overdose deaths in BC during the first four months of this year, according to the latest data released by the BC Coroners Service. If that pace continues, the number of overdose deaths in BC will surpass 1,400 in 2017, which would be a huge increase over the record 935 deaths recorded in 2016. Read the full story >

  • North Peace Division of Family Practice wins joint BC Rural Health Award

    May 30, 2017

    Energetic City​: Three organizations in Fort St. John were recognized for their contributions to rural medicine at the Rural Coordination Centre of BC’s Rural Health Conference in Prince George on Saturday, May 13th. The North Peace Division of Family Practice, Northern Health, and the City of Fort St. John were the joint recipients of the Rural BC Community Award for their collaborative work in handling the 2013 primary care crisis in Fort St. John. Read the full story >

  • Ridge doctors recognized with health award for work with at-risk youth

    May 27, 2017

    Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows News​: Five local physicians have won a health award for their work with the Ridge Meadows Youth Wellness Centre. Doctors Matt Chow, Len Hatlelid, Ursula Luitingh, Melodie Prem-Smith, and Elizabeth Zubek – all members of the Ridge Meadows Division of Family Practice – will be honored at the Doctors of BC annual general meeting on June 3 with the Excellence in Health Promotion Award. Read the full story >

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