Interior Health presented some positive news to Castlegar city council Monday, although it left some city officials confused and frustrated.
Health authority administrator Cheryl Whittleton told council two new physicians have been recruited to the area and will start in August and September.
The confusion stems from the fact the city along with Areas I and J of the Regional District of Central Kootenay put forward $50,000 in an attempt to recruit two doctors.
Mayor Lawrence Chernoff said he had no idea whether they were the same doctors Interior Health has recruited, and the lack of communication was surprising and frustrating.
Following the council meeting it was clarified these were in fact the same doctors the city had lined up.
Whittleton’s report also focused on Interior Health’s altered approach to health care in the coming years. A greater focus is expected to be put toward preventative care rather than after the person has already fallen ill. This plan should significantly reduce the costs of acute hospital care, she said.
“There’s a commitment from the ministry to start investing in more of the promotion and prevention pathways that have proven to keep people out of hospitals,” Whittleton said.
Councillor Dan Rye asked how many doctors are needed to support a community the size of Castlegar.
Whittleton responded that the proposed number of doctors for the area is 12. Castlegar currently has 10.
Next to present was Interior Health’s Kerri Wall whose main point was collaboration with local municipalities.
“Interior Health is committed to collaborate and partner with local governments to create policies and environments that support good health,” Wall said.
Wall asked not for a contract or formal agreement, just a promise of goodwill that the health authority and city keep each other informed and give thought to collaboration efforts.
“If the health care system was capable of keeping us all healthy, we would all be healthy. We cannot do it alone. We also know local government can’t do it. It’s not your job to keep us healthy, but in partnership and working together we are hoping we can get more done,” Wall explained.