Port Alice – Island Health is pleased to announce a new service delivery model for Port Alice, based on recent conversations with the Village Council, Port Alice Health Forum and community members. The model continues recent Island Health investments in community care and moves towards implementing a sustainable model of urgent care services 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
“Establishing a sustainable and dependable model of health care service delivery in Port Alice is a priority for our government and Island Health,” said Hon. Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. “I am pleased to see a plan in place to move forward with important investments in primary and community care, and a focus on building a sustainable model of urgent care for the residents who require this important service.”
In recent months Island Health has invested in additional mental health and substance use staffing, tripled home support hours in the community, added an adult day program service, and committed to renovations to the Port Alice Health Centre to make it wheelchair accessible. Island Health will also continue to provide seven day a week primary and urgent care service from the Health Centre. Work to establish a community bathing program at the Health Centre will be paused and reconsidered at a future time.
“In rural and remote communities, the key to success in addressing challenges is open communication and partnership,” said Hon. Claire Trevena (MLA North Island). “I am pleased to see the community and Island Health work through the human resource challenges and lay out a plan upon which they can build a successful care model.”
In collaboration with the Village Council and Port Alice Health Forum, work will begin in recruiting an additional registered nurse to the Health Centre. This will support providing 24/7 urgent care access for the community, with after hours service provided through a Nurse First Call model. From Sunday evening until Thursday evening a physician will be in the community to support the nurse for after hours urgent care, with the registered nurse providing initial urgent care support on Friday and Saturday evenings. B.C. Ambulance Service will continue to provide 24/7 access to urgent and emergency care.
“Recruitment for an additional registered nurse to help provide primary, community and urgent care services at the Health Centre will begin shortly,” noted Dermot Kelly, Island Health Executive Director for the North Island. “I am appreciative of the commitment by the Village Council and Health Forum to work with us on this recruitment to highlight the incredible benefits of working and living in a community with all of the beauty and outdoor opportunities Port Alice provides its residents.”
The path to a new service delivery model has occurred in recent months through a public community meeting in February, and more than a half dozen meetings between Island Health, Village Council and the Health Forum. In the latter part of 2018 a physician departure and impending nurse retirement resulted in Island Health expediting existing conversations on the future of health system delivery in the community.
“On behalf of the Village of Port Alice, I would like to thank Island Health (Dermot Kelly, Elin Bjarnason & Alison Mitchell),” said Kevin Cameron, Mayor of Port Alice. “Island Health, The Port Alice Health Forum and Council were able to work together to come up with a healthcare model that represents our residents needs. We appreciate Island Health addressing our Villages needs and concerns.”
"The Port Alice Health Forum Society is pleased to have worked with Island Health and representatives from the Village of Port Alice in bringing change to the Port Alice Health Centre,” said Valerie Eyford, Chair of the Port Alice Health Forum. “Through this collaboration we have been able to achieve a model which we believe will best serve our community. I would like to thank Alison Mitchel, Dermot Kelly and Elin Bjarnason for working with us and considering our suggestion enabling an agreement to be reached."
While recruitment for an additional registered nurse is underway, Island Health will continue to strive to provide seven day a week nursing coverage through the use of nurses from other communities. It is anticipated that on occasion, coverage will not be available for weekend primary and urgent care services. As when the service is currently unavailable, the BC Ambulance Service will transport patients requiring immediate care to the Port Hardy or Port McNeil hospitals.