Having covered Kitimat Health Advocacy Group meetings, I can’t help admiring the members’ dedication and determination when it comes to protecting health care in this community.
Or missing the old Community Health Council.
That body was responsible for the hospital, including the multi-level care unit – then known as extended care and located in the old hospital rather than being a separate wing.
The health council operated in much the same way as the municipal council does with running the city.
That included meeting every month with those meetings open to the public who were given an opportunity to make a presentation.
There was also a complete agenda package for each meeting which included stats on how many acute care beds had been occupied in the previous month, the number of surgeries performed, the number of babies born, etc.
And how all those numbers stacked up against what had been budgeted for the year.
Knowing there are those with long enough memories, I will readily concede there was a period when our health council was less than perfect – in fact it was open warfare.
Come to think of it, that’s not unlike city council was as well.
But whatever the occasional failings of the health council, there was a level of accountability and the provision of detailed information on the operations of health care in our community that, with the advent of the Northern Health Authority, has vanished.
Of course you can make a presentation at the NHA board’s monthly meeting – if you are prepared to drive for hours to get there and pay for an overnight stay to boot.
And the NHA does include stats in its monthly agenda package – but they are for the entire North and there is no breakout on the performance at individual hospitals.
Worse, there is no sign of willingness on the part of NHA to provide that information or any details on what its plans are for Kitimat General over the next five or 10 years.
It is that lack of information that fuels the fears of Kitimatians and fans the fires of the rumour mill.
If the NHA will not tell us anything meaningful, is it any wonder people think it is hiding something.
In terms of calming the health care waters in Kitimat, a little information would go a long way.