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Mayor’s Column – February 8, 2017

February 8, 2017


Hospitals, clinics, pharmacies, homecare: all of it intended to heal us, or make our passing a little more comfortable. Here in Canada, British Columbia, Chetwynd we are blessed beyond measure by the healthcare available, almost on demand, at minimal personal cost.

Most of us can cite instances of care that would have bankrupted a person in similar circumstances where the care must be paid up front or the door is not opened to the sufferer. We have had several instances in recent weeks of care provided at no cost that would have cost in the tens of thousands elsewhere. Indeed, we are blessed beyond measure by the healthcare available, almost on demand, at minimal personal cost.

Our Chetwynd clinic has been operating in its new premises for about 18 months. Most of us have forgotten the crisis we faced two years ago with physicians giving notice of pending departures. At one point prior to the opening of the new clinic physician staffing was down to zero. That is, Chetwynd had no doctor planning to stay beyond June, 2015.

Since the opening of the clinic in July, 2015, Chetwynd has experienced a slow-but-steady growth in its staffing by healthcare providers – physicians and nurse practitioners. I know the service has not always been what the citizens hoped to receive as the doors opened: instant, on-demand attention to their symptoms. Some became impatient and angry and took their pains elsewhere, a normal, but not necessarily productive, response. Perhaps we didn’t explain well enough the struggles that still lay ahead.

The service rendered to date is all part of the growing pains of establishing a new mode of service delivery. Thanks to the work of Northern Health in their recruiting and management efforts, I think the Chetwynd clinic is almost to the point of being able to satisfy the healthcare needs of its clients. Oh, yes, I still hear stories. But the stories I hear are the product of experiences remembered from months ago. It’s time to revisit some of our stories and, perhaps, write new stories. My own current experiences are 180 degrees around from 18 months ago. If I have to be sick, I couldn’t think of a better place to be sick.

Just a few days ago I had the pleasure of meeting the latest Northern Health recruit to the physician stable. He will be taking up residence this spring for a minimum of three years. This will give us five physicians and one nurse practitioner. Not a bad level of service for a small town that was down to zero just 18 months ago.

Do you want more? The way to get more is to use what we have. Pleasant as is Dawson Creek to visit, if you want service at home then you have to use the service at home. Naturally, this is a principle that applies to all goods and services. You want great grocery service in a lovely environment. Buy at home. Ask your supplier to bring in the products you want. Speak up; cry aloud; tell the service providers how they can get your dollar.

Chetwynd is a great place to live. We can contribute a little bit to making it a little better by each doing her or his part to support what we have.

Indeed, we are blessed beyond measure by the healthcare available, almost on demand, at minimal personal cost.


Merlin Nichols, Mayor