Feature Story                                                                                                 Wednesday May 25, 2011

Takin' It To The Streets

FHA creates a new Patient Advisory Committee to liaise with the public regarding delivery of quality care

Craig Hill/Voice photos


Fraser Health Board members at the Coast Hotel last week discuss revamping the health care system in the Lower Mainland.


new type of health care delivery is needed to deal with the Lower Mainland's burgeoning population. Last Thursday,  Fraser Health Authority (FHA) board members, headed by CEO Nigel Murray, held an open meeting at the Coast Hotel May 19 to talk about some of the changes coming down the pike.

The public were encouraged to see the FHA presentations and in fact about 40 people did show up, including City of Chilliwack Councillors Stewart McLean and Pat Clark.

In his keynote statement, Murray highlighted the FHA's mandate which is to increase the quality of health care throughout the region.


"FHA is committed to help the system and care providers deliver better health outcomes and increased patient satisfaction," said Murray.


Murray said that in order to do that, the FHA has developed a partnership with the Patient Voices Network which is an online venue to help facilitate feedback directly to FHA administrators from patients, their families and community stakeholders, who've been through the health care system and want to comment on it.

  FHA CEO Dr. Nigel Murray talks about RPAC.

"The patient and health authority representatives on the Regional Patient Advisory Council (RPAC) will report to the Quality Performance Committee (QPC) of the Fraser Health Board of Directors."

"This network is a program called IMPACT BC, a non-profit society that supports health improvements and is funded by the Patients In Partners Program and the Ministry of Health."

Four members of the RPAC have been selected and were introduced at the meeting who will work to advise the QPC on issues around patient care.

Murray cited some of the service changes taking place in the Upper Fraser Valley.

"We have a number of exciting initiatives underway that will add much-needed services to our region and also bring services closer to home."                                                                            The new patient advisory Committee.

Among the local announcements was that second floor of Cedar Ridge, the new $2.3-million 20 beds specialized mental health rehabilitation program will be ready to open in August.

When Riverview closed, it was decided to share treatment of those at the facility and spread it around the Fraser Valley region.

"This will bring mental health into communities and closer to families and local health care resources."

However, this won't be the case because the clinic is deemed for tertiary patients who will not be from the community of Chilliwack.

Murray added the facility is for patients "who require more intensive and highly specialized rehabilitation and treatment."

  Medical doctors were among presenters at the meeting.

Murray also said that renovations to the Fraser Canyon Hospital in Hope are almost complete.

Murray said that Mission will become a hub for senior health care and treatment in the Fraser Valley with the announcement of "Campus of Care", a new 200-bed residential community health centre.

"These new facilities expected to be built by 2013 will improve access to health care services in the Fraser Valley by locating a range of services in one geographic area adjacent to Mission Memorial Hospital," said Murray.

The Centre will be 27,000 sq. ft. facility with programs including; primary care, diabetes and seniors care, public health, home health, mental health and initiatives and leave space for community partners.      Councillors McLean (C) and Clark at the meeting.

"This new facility will add 25% more residential care beds to seniors and replace outdated facilities with modern facilities that will feature single occupancy rooms," said Murray.

Among some of the changes the board wants to implement, is to bring in more general practitioners to have them be in better touch with their patients to lessen the strain on hospital emergency wards.

A national summit of health care professionals in Vancouver in the fall will look at ways to improve the system including how to get more family doctor shortages in Chilliwack.

Dr. Andrew Webb, Vice-President of Medicine for FHA the problem of a lack of doctors is not exclusive to the Upper Fraser Valley but the summit will try to address those issues.

"It will include representation from across Canada and strong representation from across BC, to focus on practical solutions that can be implemented in this province to help redress that imbalance between supply and demand of physicians"

FHA wants it's plan is to be implemented over the next 5-years.

"This involves building a team of integrated professionals that come together with family doctors, to support people who are living with complex and chronic conditions," said Murray. "We also redesigned our Home Health liaison services which means coverage will extend 7-days-a-week, to facilitate more discharges and coordinate home support services."

"Our goal is to ensure our patients, clients and residents receive primary access to the best and safest possible (treatment) as they transition across the health care system within Fraser Health."

"We have moved forward and there are more challenges but also great opportunity in Fraser Health."

For more information about Fraser Health www.fraserhealth.ca

For more information on the Patient Voices Network visit: www.patientvoices.ca


Copyright (c) 2011 The Valley Voice