Meet the Mayor
April 8, 2015
By this time most of you solid citizens in the valley and its fringes will have heard the news that Dr. Venter is leaving Chetwynd after 16 years of loyal service. We cannot fault him for leaving. Life does change and we all must change with it. But his departure couldn’t have come at a more inopportune time for those of us who are staying the course.
Sixteen years. That’s a big chunk of anyone’s life – even of mine. For some of you sixteen years represents the totality of your existence and you’re already planning big plans for the rest of your story. Some of you should seriously consider medicine as your lifework and follow through with your calling. Your home town will welcome you back after about 12 years of arduous study. But don’t let 12 years scare you. The years will go by no matter what you do.
In the meantime, what are we doing to address the pressing need to recruit and retain that complement of doctors of which we have been talking, thinking, and writing for months?
Council is deeply committed to supporting and improving health care services in our community. Every member of Council is a hard-working and clear-thinking member of the Health Services Committee (HSC). The work of the HSC will not end with the end of this term of elected office. The challenge of recruiting and retaining will go on for years.
The District of Chetwynd has been working and strategizing with Northern Health (NH) over the past years to improve health services in our community. We are confident that hands-on-the-stethoscope fruits of our efforts will be seen in the near future.
Accomplishments to date include completion of a Master Planning Initiative on Health Care for Chetwynd. This study addresses a wide range of improved health-care services including doctors, facilities, public health, nursing, home care, and the future of our hospital.
While we are hitting a low point in the cycle of doctors right now with physicians, for various reasons, leaving our community, some of the more tangible results of our efforts over the last year and one-halfNH include a greatly enhanced working relationship with NH, the placement of a dedicated Recruiting Officer specifically tasked with staffing our community with doctors, the appointment of a Hospital Administrator, the construction of a new medical facility (Chetwynd Medical Clinic and Wellness Centre) to promote recruitment and retention of medical personnel including doctors, nurses and nurse practitioners – as well as the delivery of integrated services.
We also want to give credit where credit is due. Northern Health, from the Board level to the administrator on the ground in Chetwynd, has demonstrated commitment to providing the level of health care that is possible for the time and place in which we live.
And what is next? Two delegates are scheduled to attend the Rural Emergency Continuum of Care Conference in May to present the face of Chetwynd to several hundred doctors.
Merlin Nichols, Mayor