Island News & Views
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General · 16th August 2018
Jim Abram
I wanted to include an incredible picture of the sunrise this morning but then realized colour doesn’t work! So, I'll just say that it was a beautiful scene but a grim reminder of the pain and suffering that so many are experiencing throughout the province due to wildfires. Keep the people, their homes and pets, the wild creatures, the forest and the environment in your thoughts. So far we are only suffering the smoke from their disasters.

Roads
First of all, I will include this brief notice that came to me so you will know the dates and times of road work. Also, regarding roads, I did publish a map of the roads that are being resurfaced or paved and I have received daily calls as to why certain roads are not being done. Please note that I didn’t make these choices. This is a Provincial Highways decision to do the ones they are doing and some of it actually makes sense. If they do the “quicky” chip seal this year they told me it will preclude that road for real pavement next year. Also, they told me that they only had so much money and are assuming that some other paving will be done by the contractors within their own budget. I am definitely not making excuses for them or their ministry program. I am only trying to convey what I have been told. If you have problems with the program please contact your Provincial representative (as roads are not an SRD responsibility), or call the Highways supervisor at 1-250-334-6969 to share your thoughts.

Quadra Island Medical Clinic situation
Some of the following is what I wrote last report on this topic and now I can give you the “good news” update. First the repeated portion:

I have been sitting in on the meetings of the group that has formed to try and keep the Quadra Medical Clinic open (not to be confused with Harbourside Medical). We have had numerous meetings, numerous phone calls and endless emails. You have an incredible group of individuals working very hard on your behalf to carry out the mandate given by the community to “retain our existing services”. They are also looking at creative ways to provide even more services and have Island Health and the Ministry fund them.

I was appointed by the Ministry and Island Health to be the “point person” to talk with the main contact at Island Health, Dr. Tom Gornall, after I had presented motions to both the SRD Board and the Comox Strathcona Regional Hospital District Board, which were supported unanimously. The Chairs of those Boards wrote to the Minister and other top officials at Island Health and we received immediate attention since our crisis is urgent.

A proposal has been presented by the group to Island Health and we are negotiating with them over how those items can be accomplished. We should hear back soon. In the mean time Dr. Boegel has been actively recruiting so that there will be new professionals to take her place when she leaves. She is going above and beyond what anyone could be expected to do to insure that her departure does not leave us short staffed at the Quadra Medical Clinic.

I am sure there will be a successful conclusion to this crisis due to the volunteers’ commitment.

And there has been a successful outcome! We were granted all five of our requests by Island Health. I was notified of this by a personal phone call from the head of Island Health for the North Island, Dermot Kelly, about a week or so ago, . The requests were (shortened version): An Extended Locum position for fourteen months (a fill-in full time doctor), continued Nurse Practitioner services, continued Lab services, continued Mental Health services, and, administration and management fees for the clinic for the next fourteen months in the amount of $100,000.00 to cover any shortfall in the operation of the clinic. This is not a common practice of Island Health and came from our lobbying at all levels.

The Society is publishing a "press release by committee”, meaning it has had input from many sources and continual edits. I am going to publish it here in case you don’t read it elsewhere. Here it is:

Quadra Island Medical Clinic ….. REPRIEVE. WE HAVE SAVED OUR CLINIC

Island Health (backed by the Ministry) has committed support, conditional to the community, by way of a non-profit society, running the clinic for the next 14 months (to December 2019). The support is in 2 ways: 1) to fund a doctor for that time, and 2) to guarantee operational funding. This gives us, the community,14 months time to make permanent ongoing arrangements for the future.

Back in May, with the immanent relocation of Dr. Kellerhals to CR, and with the coming retirement of Dr. Boegel, it appeared we would lose our clinic, and its attendant services of Nurse Practitioner, Laboratory, and Mental Health Outreach Services. Dr. Boegel assembled a committee of volunteers (Dr. Mary McIntosh, Pat Peterson, Jim Abram, Betty Doak, David Cox, Blake Rodgers, Don Ladd, Gerry Hornby and herself) to spearhead movement to a solution. The goal was to save our clinic and its services.

A public meeting, held in May, provided information and gave approval and support for the committee. In mid July, the Q I Health Society was registered, with Mary McIntosh, Blake Rodgers, David Cox, Betty Doak, Don Ladd, and Gerry Hornby named as Directors, until the first general meeting.

Research undertaken has indicated that not only is keeping the clinic open hugely important to Quadra residents, but it is also financially advantageous to the health system.

While all of the above was ongoing, Dr. Boegel continued her intensive search for a doctor (or a combination of doctors) and the search continues today. Our Board of Directors, as presently constituted, are preparing to take over the ownership and running of QI Medical Clinic in November of this year.

At this point, the clinic has been given a reprieve. No doubt we will ultimately find a permanent solution to our need for physicians. Our research has led us to look at the possibility of establishing a Community Health Centre. CHCs presently exist in other VI and area communities, and the Ministry of Health is currently looking to invest further in this option.

While these initiatives are ongoing, the Board of Directors must (according to the constitution) provide a membership list for the Society. To accomplish this, a membership form has been devised, and will be circulated by email to all residents who have expressed interest in retaining QI Medical Clinic and its services. This form will also be available at Quadra Medical Clinic and from individual Directors. Membership, open to all QI and surrounding area residents over the age of 19, entitles you to a vote at general meetings of QI Health Society. Our membership list shows Island Health and the Ministry of Health that the Society has support from Quadra and surrounding islands.

Members of the committee are so very grateful to our local representatives. Jim Abram attended many of the committee meetings, bringing his expertise and wide ranging contacts to our assistance. He was chosen by the Ministry to be the main contact with the IH and was tasked with resolving this situation. Clare Trevena was kept appraised throughout, and both were pivotal in negotiations with both Island Health and the Ministry.

Dr. Mary McIntosh for QI Health Society

So, there you have it: “How I spent my summer vacation” along with all of these dedicated volunteers. Now we have many details to attend to so as to make this work and we only have fourteen months.

Telus reception problems
I have noticed and others have contacted me about a serious decline in Telus cellular service over the past few weeks, all the way from Read Island to the south, east and west of Quadra. I decided to call the Vancouver Island Executive Director in Victoria personally and was able to convey the severity of the situation to him. He immediately insured me that he would have a team look into it. I got a call back from him the next day to tell me that their systems analysts were looking into it and had found nothing wrong with the system. I explained that in my experience with Telus analyzing the system by computer, it was sadly lacking and that we needed actual people on the ground testing the signal and finding out what had changed. Something was different. Today I was notified that a team had been dispatched to Quadra. I also got a call from one of the analysts while he was on the island as he went from spot to spot. He was actually finding that I was correct, along with others, and the signal was not up to par. I even had him call me on my cell, at home, to confirm the horrible connection. He did and it was. So he is continuing his work with his team and will get to the bottom of it. I am hoping for a quick resolution. Unfortunately, I cannot do my work without my phone. I do a large percentage of my work with you while on the road at meetings or in ferry line ups on my phone. I used to read a book! I will keep you informed of the progress as it happens.

Correction to the Mirror article
It was reported last week in regard to the BC Marine Trails Society request for a letter of support from the SRD, that the Board voted to write a letter of support. Both the headline and the body of the article stated this. It was totally incorrect and has been clarified with the editor and the reporter. The Board actually voted to defer the issue until November for further discussion. The on-line edition of the Mirror has been corrected and an article has been written also for the print edition.

Feel free to contact me between the hours of 8:30 am and 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday (please, not on weekends or holidays, folks!) at 285-3355, or you can fax me at 285-3533 or you can email me anytime at jimabramxplornet.ca or by mail at Box 278 in the Cove, V0P 1N0… or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/JimAbram…. If it is important, my cell is 250-830-8005… Lots of choices.

Please do not use my residential phone number for SRD calls. All business calls should be on 285-3355. Many thanks!

Respectfully submitted,

Jim Abram
Director, Discovery Islands-Mainland inlets, Area C, SRD
Attachments
(Fax.pdf)