On the Feb. 3 City Council agenda was an item relating to the release of certain in-camera resolutions, one of which, from December 2, 2013, deals with council’s concern over the level of healthcare available to to area residents.
The specific resolution stipulated “…that council allocate up to $10,000 from existing consultant budgets to fund preparatory work for the proposed Castlegar Physicians Recruitment Committee to prepare a work plan, job posting and initial recruitment brochure with matching funding from the Rural Directors of Areas I and J of the RDCK.” Councillor Chernoff and Mayor Chernoff each spoke of the situation as regards the number of doctors in Castlegar, their considerable workloads, and what is expected when a practitioner moves on. The mayor elaborated on the issue following adjournment of the formal meeting.
“There can be a situation where a doctor or two will leave, so when the numbers change, they (remaining doctors) are already loaded to the hilt with patients.”
The mayor indicated a doctor is likely to have well over a thousand patients in his or her care, and that those remaining can’t take them on.
“Say a physician has 1,300 patients,” he illustrated, “well, if two physicians left you’d have 2,600 patients… where will they go? They’ll go to emerg.”
Mayor Chernoff stressed the need for an effective, ongoing doctor recruitment program for Castlegar, “We’re looking to hire a recruiter right now,” he related, “that will take that job over. It’s a part-time job but it’s a job that’s very important.”
Another in-camera resolution, from last July 13, was also made public on Monday night – declaring, “That Council authorize staff to negotiate the sale of 48 strands of fibre optic cable along 6,014 metres of City owned fibre length for a minimum price of $158,000.”