A January 2012 letter to Village of Burns Lake councillors from the Ministry of Health, motivated village staff to review the terms of reference for the Lakes District Health Advisory Committee (LDHAC).
LDHAC is a select committee which was established to inquire into health care issues and report the findings to council, however the number of locals signing on the committee is dwindling. During the recent call for applications to village committees and commissions, just five local residents applied to be a member of LDHAC.
Councillor Susan Schienbein said to council that there has been difficulty reaching quorum at LDHAC meetings over recent months which has slowed the progress for community initiatives.
Councillor Schienbein, who is the current chair of LDHAC said to council last week the letter from the Ministry of Health made reference to the success of a community health network model in the Cowichan area that is working in conjunction with the Vancouver Island Health Authority.
“They are incredibly successful. They have been going for four years and have 20 of the original 22 members … they have an incredible retention rate, which I think speaks to the success of the model.”
As a result of the review which was conducted by Coun. Schienbein and village director of corporate services, Stephanie Beerling, a recommendation was made to council that LDHAC should be restructured and amalgamated into the Lakes District Health Network, following a similar model to the Cowichan area health network.
A report provided to council by Beerling noted that the development of a similar health network in Burns Lake would help Burns Lake move forward with health care initiatives and work in partnership with Northern Health.
Similar to the LDHAC terms of reference the Lakes District Health Network would have a maximum of 22 members from various organizations who are involved in, or contribute to health care in the Lakes District, as well as two members of the public. All members would be appointed by council for a one year term and applications would be reviewed during a public meeting.
Organizations that will be invited to appoint one member to the committee include; School District 91, First Nations, Lakes District Community Services, Carrier Sekani Family Services, Lakes District Seniors Association, Lakes District Unit of the Canadian Cancer Society, Burns Lake and District Health Auxiliary, College of New Caledonia, Lakes District Campus, Northern Health Authority, a practicing health care professional, Stuart Nechako Regional Hospital District, Burns Lake Medical Clinic Society, Burns Lake and District Chamber of Commerce and Burns Lake RCMP detachment.
Sheryl Worthing village chief administrative officer said to Lakes District News that each of the six local area First Nations will be invited to appoint a representative and an alternate, to the health network.
“It is expected that the Lakes District Health Network will consist of 22 members, 20 appointed by specific organizations and two members of the public. Current LDHAC members will have the opportunity join the Lakes District Health Network, either through an organization they are associated with that is listed in the terms of reference or as a member of the public.”
Similar to the Cowichan Health Network, the Lakes District Health Network would discuss health issues facing the community, identify priorities and other issues related to the health and well being of local residents, in partnership with Northern Health.