Interior Health CEO Dr. Robert Halpenny visited Elkford

Interior Health CEO visits the Elk Valley

Dr. Robert Halpenny toured medical facilities in Sparwood, Elkford and Fernie last week.

  • Aug. 1, 2012 9:00 a.m.

Recruiting and retaining doctors has become a major issue for both Sparwood and Elkford.

Interior Health’s CEO Dr. Robert Halpenny visited Sparwood, Elkford and Fernie last week. Halpenny said he tries to tour each Interior Health site at least once a year. During the visits, he’ll meet with medical staff, Interior Health staff, foundation staff, auxiliary staff, volunteers and local elected officials.

“We went to Elkford and met with local physicians. We understand the issue of recruitment and retention in those smaller communities,” said Halpenny. “We went to Sparwood and had the same issues of recruitment and retention.”

Earlier this month, the emergency department in Sparwood had to close over a weekend because of limited doctor availability.

“When the number of physicians is three or less, and you lose one, it becomes a crisis,” said Halpenny, adding that these issues are unfortunately not unique to this area.

Halpenny said he wants to work with clinicians, communities, Provincial recruitment agencies and Interior Health agencies to accomplish two things.

“There’s short term and long term. The short term obviously is to try and find the locums (fill in doctors.) The long term is to do appropriate recruitment across Canada and outside of Canada.”

It is a very difficult climate right now to recruit and retain doctors across Canada, said Halpenny, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel. This year, University of British Columbia’s Southern Medical Program began in Kelowna with teaching sites throughout the Okanagan.

“Our goal is when we teach and train these physicians in rural communities, that there is a greater chance they will gravitate to those sites.”

Another new initiative announced by the province this year is the potential to use nurse practitioners in primary care settings, such as those in Sparwood and Elkford, said Halpenny.

“We will be looking over the next year to find appropriate places to have nurse practitioners participate in primary care. “

Despite the challenges that lie ahead, Halpenny was impressed by the facilities he toured.

“When you walk into the facilities, the people are bright and friendly. You feel that there is a sense of caring.”

 

Just Posted

Local figure skater wins prestigious award

Sparwood’s Bree Chardonnens named B.C./Yukon STARSkate Athlete Of The Year

Fruitvale man identified in fatal zipline accident in Thailand

Spencer Donaldson, 25, was from Fruitvale, B.C., the city’s mayor has confirmed

Elk Valley water monitoring program expanding

Elk River Alliance to monitor Boivin and Coal creeks based on community feedback

Fruitvale man, 25, dies after falling from zipline in Thailand, reports say

Bangkok Post says man fell from Flight of the Gibbon zipline in Chiang Mai

Daughters of the Vote eye opening for Fernie woman

McKinley Richards reflects on leadership program and the protest that made national headlines

UPDATE: Four victims identified in deadly Penticton shooting spree

John Brittain, 68, faces three counts of first-degree murder and one count of second-degree murder

GALLERY: Fernie Stoke Fest a smashing success

2019 event attracts sellout crowd to Fernie Community Centre April 6

Dedicated Sparwood volunteer honoured

Elk Valley Thrift Shop Society manager to receive 2019 BC Achievement Community Award

BC Ferries to pilot selling beer and wine on select sailings

Drinks from select B.C. breweries and VQA wineries will be available on the Swartz Bay to Tsawwassen route

Elizabeth May’s B.C. wedding will be a ‘low carbon affair’ on Earth Day

Green party leader’s wedding party to depart in a cavalcade of electric cars

4 victims killed in Penticton shooting spree remembered at vigil

John Brittain, 68, is charged with three counts of first-degree murder and one count of second-degree murder

B.C. awaits Kenney’s ‘turn off taps,’ threat; Quebec rejects Alberta pipelines

B.C. Premier John Horgan said he spoke with Kenney Wednesday and the tone was cordial

Federal government extends deadline to make Trans Mountain decision to June 18

The National Energy Board endorsed an expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline on Feb. 22

Prince George sweeps to first-ever BC Hockey League crown

Spruce Kings beat Vernon Vipers 3-1 in the Okanagan Wednesday for 13th straight playoff win

Most Read