Kelly Report Delivers Call for Physio-therapists and Cardiac Intervention Suite
Report notes needs of the North and honours Dr. Bert Kelly
Prince George, B.C.- The Northern Medical Society, which advocates for health care service improvements for northern residents, delivered its annual “Kelly Report” at the Dr. Bob Ewert Memorial Diner and Lecture.
The annual report takes the pulse of the achievements that have been made over the previous year, and delivers a prescription for needs to improve health services in Northern B.C.
What was different this year, was that the Kelly Report, was not delivered by its author, Dr. Bert Kelly.
Dr. Kelly was conspicuously absent from the Memorial Dinner, which is a fundraiser to aid students in the Northern Medical Program. Dr. Kelly has closed his practice in order to attend to personal health matters.
MLA Shirley Bond referred to Dr. Kelly as the “pebble in her shoe, a constant reminder of needs that need to be addressed” . As a member of the Northern Medical Society, Dr. Kelly has been the “nudger” to bring about change. He was instrumental in the development of the Northern Cancer Centre, has worked to make the University Hospital a teaching Hospital, establishing training programs for a number of diagnostic fields and has been the voice for the Northern Medical Society on a number of health care delivery issues. While recognizing Dr. Kelly did not work alone on those issues, Dr. Bill Simpson said Dr. Kelly was the leader of the team “Without his leadership, without his personality I don’t think we would be standing here thinking about how well we’ve done.”
It was Dr. Simpson who delivered the Kelly Report, praising the recent announcement of the government’s approval for a concept plan for new surgical suites, ( see previous story). “The go ahead to proceed with planning for a surgical tower and that’s being fast tracked by the government, means that we can build probably two years earlier. This building is going to be truly momentous, probably as big as the cancer centre. It’s going to be 6 storeys, it’s going to have extra surgical beds, and 12 state of the art operating rooms.” Dr. Simpson says when complete, “There will be an enormous change in surgical delivery.”
There is also a promise of improvement to cardiac services. Dr. Simpson drove the importance of that service home, by saying if one of the people attending the dinner was suffering from chest pain, they would likely have to spend a week in hospital before being transferred to Vancouver. “Now if this dinner was in Kamloops, Vernon, Kelowna, Penticton, Nanaimo, Victoria, Richmond Abbottsford, New Westminster, you would be, within hours, in a cardiac intervention suite” and would have received treatment that would probably saved a life. “Northern Health is the only (Health) Authority that doesn’t have a cardiac intervention suite. There is no one in this room who would say what we are asking for is unreasonable.”
And there is other work to be done.
Dr. Simpson says there is a glaring deficiency in the delivery of training for physio therapists, speech therapists, and occupational therapists. He said there are just 86 physio therapists in the north, and 3251 in the south “It doesn’t take a genius to see there is a problem.” Dr.Simpson says the discrepancy is critical, especially as many of physio therapists already in the north will soon be reaching retirement age “In the rest of B.C, there is a physio for every 1330 (people), in Northern Health there is one for every 3600, we have to fix this.”
“We need to train them in the North” said Dr. Simpson. He says that while this issue has been under discussion for a decade, there seems to be a roadblock either from the Ministry of Advanced Education, or UBC.
“We only ask for things that are reasonable” said Dr. Simpson “That any reasonable man would expect as a patient in the North, to receive the same sort of care that they would if they lived in the Okanagan or the lower mainland.”