Houston council will continue pursuing 24/7 health care for Houston.
“It’s still a priority,” said Mayor Shane Brienen.
“We’re an industrial community, so a lot of people are working at night in the backcountry. We did lose some jobs… but [24/7 health care] is still something we want. It’s just a matter of what form it will be in.”
Brienen says council is still discussing what 24/7 care might look like, whether it’s partnering with paramedics and giving them better training, or getting a nurse practitioner, or something else.
“We’ll see if there’s something in other communities our size that’s working,” Brienen said.
On February 6, Northern Health released a review of Houston services which said that 24/7 health care was not feasible for Houston.
Asked what he thought of the review, Brienen says he wasn’t sure.
“They sort of say in there that Houston people don’t want [24/7 care], but that’s not the feeling I get when I talk to people… I’ve had a lot of people talk to me who say that it’s still a priority for them.”
Brienen says “it’s important for everybody, but especially for the industry people and seniors.”
Houston council is meeting with Northern Health in April to go over the review and ask questions.
Mayor Shane Brienen says the obvious key issue for Houston is the need for doctors.
“The doctor shortage needs to be addressed. We’re going to look at a better program between the District and Northern Health for doctor recruitment,” Brienen said.
As suggested in the Houston Health Review, council is considering a partnership to help promote the town and show what Houston has to offer.
Brienen says council is involved in doctor recruitment through the Community, Health, Education and Social Services Committee (CHESS).
CHESS is a committee of council which is an amalgamation of the previous Health Committee and Community Services and Worker Transition Pillars.
Open to the public, their next meeting is March 13 at 9:30 a.m. in the council chambers at the District of Houston.
$10,000 TO LOBBY
At the finance meeting last Tuesday, Houston council budgeted up to $10,000 in 2015 towards lobbying for 24/7 health care and more community services.
Director of Finance William Wallace told council that staff estimate they would need$7,500 if council chose to hire a consultant to verify information from health or government bodies or to find new ways to get more health care resources from governments.
It could also be used to lobby for more community services, which is another council priority.
Mayor Shane Brienen says they don’t know how they’ll use the money, they just want it available in the budget if needed.