Interior Health year in review

Interior Health year in review

Message from Board Chair Doug Cochrane

As 2018 approaches, it is a great opportunity to reflect on the past year. On behalf of Interior Health, it is my pleasure to recap some highlights.

Of course the biggest story of 2017 was the wildfires that tore across several communities. In total 19 hospitals, health centres and residential care homes were evacuated. Close to 880 patients and home health clients, along with hundreds of employees and physicians, were forced to leave their homes. I am so impressed by the teams who came together to make sure patients were well taken care of, even when care providers had to improvise and make the best of limited space and supplies.

Sadly another crisis continues – the opioid overdose public health emergency took more than 1,200 lives this year in B.C. We are on track to have the previously announced 73 substance use treatment beds open this year; these include 57 support recovery beds (eight support recovery beds opened in 2016 in the East Kootenay in partnership with Ktunaxa Nation and East Kootenay Addiction Services Society) and 17 withdrawal management beds. We have also implemented mobile supervised consumption services in Kamloops and Kelowna this year.

Despite these efforts a record number of people were lost this year to opioid overdose deaths. Thank you to everyone on the frontline working to help address addiction, mitigate overdose risk, and address the damaging stigma that persists around mental health and substance use issues.

At a local level, I would like to acknowledge October’s tragic ammonia leak in Fernie. I thank the care providers who stepped up to meet the health needs of the community during this emergency.

On a brighter note, there are several projects to celebrate at Cranbrook’s East Kootenay Regional Hospital:

· In October we announced construction for EKRH’s first permanent MRI machine.

· Young patients will receive care in a brand new pediatric unit.

· More than $600,000 in upgrades have been completed in Diagnostic Imaging.

Use of MyHealthPortal continues to grow. Introduced last year, there are now more than 30,000 patients accessing their personal health information online using this secure online tool.

Our relationships with Indigenous communities also continue to develop as we deepen our understanding of cultural humility and what that means in a health-care setting. We now have two dedicated educators working to build awareness within our staff and this year we announced a dedicated Indigenous recruiter in an effort to attract and retain more Indigenous employees.

The next year promises more good news as construction wraps up on the 243 residential care beds announced last year – including 30 beds at Joseph Creek Village in Cranbrook.

Since joining Interior Health in September, I have been getting to know the organization, its leadership and the communities we serve. This included a recent visit to the East Kootenays where I enjoyed meeting many staff, volunteers and community leaders. I look forward to a fulfilling term serving Interior Health area residents.

Wishing you a happy New Year,

Doug Cochrane

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

RDEK reminds public to register for their emergency notification system. File photo.
RDEK reminds residents to register for East Kootenay Evacuation Notification System

Provincial Alert system cannot be used for local emergencies

RCR’s snow making is one of the bulk water users in Kimberley. Matt Mosteller file
Kimberley bulk water rates to rise 20 per cent if bylaw adopted

Bylaw given first three readings this week

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Interior Health reports 70 new cases overnight

The total number of cases in the region is now at 1,426

David Moskowitz file
Wildsight to present webinar on Inland Temperate Rainforest

Join Wildsight next Tuesday, December 1, 2020 for a free webinar on… Continue reading

Carmen Hintz (right) donates $500 to Heather Smith (left) at the Kimberley Food Bank, leftover cash after fundraising to rescue four kittens. Paul Rodgers photo.
Local’s extra kitten fundraiser money donated to Kimberley Food Bank

Carmen Hintz donates $500, after raising money to support rescued cats

A man wearing a face mask to help curb the spread of COVID-19 walks in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020. The use of masks is mandatory in indoor public and retail spaces in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. records deadliest day of pandemic with 13 deaths, 738 new COVID-19 cases

Number of people in hospital is nearing 300, while total cases near 30,000

FILE - This May 4, 2020, file photo provided by the University of Maryland School of Medicine, shows the first patient enrolled in Pfizer's COVID-19 coronavirus vaccine clinical trial at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore.  Pfizer announced Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2020, more results in its ongoing coronavirus vaccine study that suggest the shots are 95% effective a month after the first dose. (Courtesy of University of Maryland School of Medicine via AP, File)
VIDEO: B.C. planning for the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines in the first weeks of 2021

The question of who will get the vaccine first relies on Canada’s ethical framework

This undated photo issued by the University of Oxford shows of vial of coronavirus vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University, in Oxford, England. (University of Oxford/John Cairns via AP)
Canada can make vaccines, just not the ones leading the COVID-19 race

Canada has spent more than $1 billion to pre-order seven different developing COVID-19 vaccines

British Columbia Premier John Horgan speaks during an announcement about a new regional cancer centre in Surrey, B.C., on Thursday, Aug. 6, 2020. Horgan is set to introduce his NDP government’s new cabinet Thursday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Horgan’s NDP cabinet built to tackle pandemic, economic recovery, says former premier

Seven former NDP cabinet ministers didn’t seek re-election, creating vacancies in several high-profile portfolios

The COVID-19 test centre at Peace Arch Hospital is located on the building’s south side. (Tracy Holmes photo)
B.C. woman calls for consistency in COVID-19 post-test messaging

‘Could we just get one thing straight?’ asks Surrey’s Deb Antifaev

(File photo)
Alberta woman charged after allegedly hitting boy with watermelon at Okanagan campsite

Police say a disagreement among friends at an Adams Lake campsite turned ugly

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Court of Appeal for British Columbia in Vancouver. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
B.C. woman loses appeal to have second child by using late husband’s sperm

Assisted Human Reproduction Act prohibits the removal of human reproductive material from a donor without consent

Krista Macinnis displays the homework assignment that her Grade 6 daughter received on Tuesday. (Submitted photo)
B.C. mom angry that students asked to list positive stories about residential schools

Daughter’s Grade 6 class asked to write down 5 positive stories or facts

Most Read