By Andrea Horton
Sparwood council has agreed to write a letter to Interior Health supporting the Early Childhood Development (ECD) Committee’s request that Interior Health review the decision to reduce the Sparwood’s Public Health Nurse hours and consider reinstating these hours.
Interior Health has recently cut the once full-time position back to a .75 position.
In a letter addressed to council, Sparwood ECD Coordinator Jackie Carpenter states that the committee is concerned about the reduction of services in public health because the Public Health Nurse is a front line worker for parents. She also explains that due to the rearrangement of health services in the Elk Valley, citizens have services that are only available at specific times, in specific communities.
“Any cut-back of services in a small community has the potential to have an impact on families with young children,” said Carpenter. “Our birth rate is quite consistent and because of the economy and the hiring of employees at the mine, the potential of new families coming in has us concerned. We would like to have it reinstated to a full-time position.”
Interior Health does not anticipate any negative impact to available services.
“Interior health has looked at the position and adjusted the hours of the public health nursing position to align it with the needs that are in Sparwood,” said Maryann Simpson, Administrator for East Kootenay for Community Integration. “They did this to bring the hours into alignment with those of other communities.”
“There have been several very positive changes to services in Sparwood,” said Simpson. “We have increased the physiotherapist from half time to full-time hours, we also have a GP that is travelling from Fernie to Sparwood and Elkford to provide pre-natal visits to expectant moms. We continue to monitor the needs and look at service adjustments to meet those needs within our resources.”
If parents have any concerns regarding the cut-back they can contact the Public Health Nurse, the ECD committee or the District of Sparwood.