Health forum proponents seek constructive dialogue

A health forum is on the horizon for residents of the Kootenay Boundary, according to a spokesperson for Citzens For Better Access to Health Care.

“We talked about ways to be visible and what some of our steps are and why,” Dean McKinnon said. “We thought, why don’t we have a forum so that people from the entire West Kootenay Boundary region can get together and voice their opinion?”

On March 16, the forum will be an agenda item at the West Kootenay Boundary Regonial Health Board meeting at the Castlegar Community Complex. McKinnon encourages members of the public to come to this meeting to show support for the forum.

“It’s a public meeting; there’s not a lot of seating but we’re looking for people to show up and support our endeavour,” he said. “At the same time, we don’t want it disgruntled. We want it positive.”

McKinnon said the issues aren’t limited to equipment like the ultrasound machine being moved, but extend to health care in general.

“This is what we’re hearing. We’d have IHA there with us and some fairly smart speakers on the topic of health care and get it so we can bring some of those problem scenarios that we have in the Kootenays to the forefront.”

At next week’s meeting, McKinnon said the citizens’ group plans to propose the forum, talk about who will be running it and who will take over.

But the forum won’t be news for the board.

“Apparently it has gone to the board already and they’ve all voted unanimously in favour of having this,” McKinnon said.

McKinnon said he’s optimistic about the process.

“Bring creative ideas if you plan to attend [next week’s meeting] and hopefully we’ll have a good group of people facilitating the whole process and we’ll come out with some solutions,” he said.

The West Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital Board meets at the Castlegar Community Complex next Wednesday at 6 p.m.