Access to health care when you need it is challenging for many. When you are sick and don’t have a family doctor, you rush to a walk-in clinic and line up in hopes of making the cut for available appointments. If you’re unsuccessful, off you go to a hospital emergency department, where you face another lineup.
What has this got to do with Kamloops City council? The Tournament Capital is just one city of many across Canada that is grappling with the issue of
recruiting and retaining physicians.
This year I am president of the Southern Interior Local Government Association (SILGA), following in the well-respected footsteps of Coun. Pat Wallace.
SILGA is a local government association whose membership covers all the Thompson Nicola, Similkameen and North and South Okanagan areas. The executive is elected yearly by peers at the SILGA annual general meeting.
How is my SILGA work useful for Kamloops?
One example is the newly created SILGA medical committee, which is chaired by Clearwater Coun. Shelley Simms. Its focus is on physician recruitment and health issues. We hope to tack on an extra half day at the next SILGA general meeting so our membership can learn about the best practices in physician recruitment and discuss other health issues.
SILGA goals are advocacy, communication and education. SILGA local governments working together on common issues have a stronger voice at the annual Union of B.C. Municipalities convention, where resolutions are debated.
Then, successful resolutions go forward to senior government, giving insight into what taxpayers want and expect.
SILGA provides grassroots local government input to the province, ultimately giving you a voice through your elected representatives. That’s why I ran for SILGA president.
As part of the SILGA advocacy this year, SILGA took the initiative and met with many ministers during the Union of B.C. Municipalities conference. We asked for input from our members and brought current issues and resolutions forward in our meetings with cabinet ministers.
We met with Agriculture Minister Pat Pimm, Mines and Energy Minister Bill Bennett, Forests Minister Steve Thompson, Health Minister Terry Lake and Highways Minister Todd Stone. Local MLAs Jackie Tegart, Norm Letnick, Greg Kyllo and Dan Ashton, came along to assist us as schedules permitted. We heard about some new initiatives already underway.
Our meeting with Premier Christy Clark was to discuss our previous meetings with the ministers as well asthe SILGA resolutions on the UBCM table. We also talked about items in her area as an MLA.
There is a more detailed description of our meetings on the SILGA website, which can be found at www.SILGA.ca.
I attended many UBCM appointments with Mayor Peter Milobar and Kamloops councillors Ken Christian and Arjun Singh.
While attending the UBCM conference meant five days away from my family, I am honoured to serve you as a City councillor.
You can contact Marg Spina at firstname.lastname@example.org.