Passing strange

The health beat has always been a bit different - and perhaps the most puzzling/frustrating one in recent years.

The health beat has always been a bit different – and perhaps the most puzzling/frustrating  one in recent years.

Under the heading of puzzling comes the story we have on our front page about two members of staff at Kitimat General wanting to upgrade their skills – what’s usually referred to as professional development.

It seems like a very good idea.

In one case it will give KGH an emergency department nurse trained in dealing with life and death situations involving our community’s children – I am interpreting “life support” as suggesting life and death.

In the other it will save some patients having to travel to Prince George or Vancouver for treatment, surely a benefit to the patient and the overall level of service provided here.

The Northern Health Authority has said it will pay the registration fees for those people to take the courses, which can only be interpreted as a confirmation that these new skills are a desirable addition to the health care offered at KGH.

But then it turns around and says the individuals will have to pay their own way in terms of travel and accommodation.

Since those costs will be in the area of $1,000, I would not be surprised if, as Dr. Carstens says, some people say to heck with it, I can’t afford it.

Which leaves me a little baffled as to NHA’s logic.

If, as I have inferred, it regards these courses as being good for health care in Kitimat, and if it is committed to excellence in that health care, why would it put such a barrier in the way of increasing the skills of hospital staff?

I can understand, given budget constraints, that the NHA might feel unable to pick up the entire tag.

And I don’t think it is unreasonable to ask these individuals to pay some part of the total cost since they will derive a benefit from having acquired these new skills.

But a four-figure hurdle seems a little on the high side and highly contradictory.

Malcolm Baxter

PS: While KHAG’s support for these individuals – and therefore health care in our community – is laudable, I would suggest the above paragraph regarding the reasonableness of each of them paying at least some part of the costs is equally applicable.