Hope’s health professionals and community partners celebrated a special award at a private function at the Hope Golf Course on Friday night.
Dr. Josh Greggain of Hope emceed the evening, which included guests from Fraser Health, the District of Hope, Chilliwack Division of Family Practice, and doctors from the Rural Coordination Centre of BC. Earlier this year, Hope was recognized with a Rural BC Community Award for its “dedication, collaboration, and resiliency in providing excellent rural community health.”
At Friday’s celebration, it was stated many times that Hope’s model of health care services and delivery was the apple of the province’s eye, and one of a kind.
Dr. Alan Ruddiman, a GP from Oliver and co-chair of the Joint Standing Committee for Rural Issues, spoke highly of Hope and underlined that this community is unique and truly being applauded by rural doctors around the province.
Dr. Stuart Johnston was also on hand to speak. He has spent the last two months visiting rural communities around the province, and said Hope’s “bottom-up or grassroots” hierarchy is the model everyone is looking at — but only Hope is doing.
“What you’re doing is your preserving your local autonomy,” he told the crowd of about 60. “You are the first and only health authority (Fraser Health) who has done this and it’s been nothing short of amazing.”
He said “problem solving at a local level” is key to fixing health problems when they occur, effectively.
Dr. Johnston was one of the original doctors to help create a rural organization for doctors, fighting against the top-down bureaucracy at the provincial level 20 years ago.
“They told that status quo was not good enough,” Dr. Ruddiman said. “They said, ‘no, we understand our own issues’ and they took them head on.”
Like those rural doctors who stood up for better health care, Dr. Ruddiman urged all of the people in the room — nurses, volunteers, patients, health authority executives and more — to keep fighting for the best health care delivery possible.
“You need to keep standing together,” he said. “Not just for your generation, it’s the generation behind you.”
Hope was named as the award winner earlier this year, but it took some time to organize the celebration, said Dr. Greggain.
This year marked the sixth year that RCCbc has recognized BC rural physicians and communities for their contribution and dedication to rural medical practice with the BC Rural Health Awards. Each year, RCCbc recognizes a rural community as well as rural physicians and/or interprofessional teams for their important work in sustaining rural and remote health in British Columbia.
A call for nominations was issued in November 2018 through the RCCbc. Recipients were selected by a committee consisting of representatives from RCCbc and the University of British Columbia. All award recipients receive a physical award, along with a $2,500 grant to be used for hosting a community celebration or supporting a community resource.