FORA stays active

Association representing residents' associations throughout Parksville Qualicum Beach sticking to health-care issues

FORA remains singularly focussed.

What many have described as the driving force behind the need-demonstration, funding and eventual construction of the Oceanside Health Centre (OHC), the Federation of Oceanside Residents’ Association is going to keep its sights on health-care issues, says the group’s spokesman.

“Success breeds success,” said Tom Davies. “If this (the OHC) is done right it can truly be used as a model and it has the potential to attract specialists in various disciplines of health and they would bring young families.”

There is no shortage of issues FORA could sink its teeth into around Parksville Qualicum Beach — development, water, roadwork priorities, etc. — but Davies said the group will remain focussed on health-care issues.

“We have only been successful because we are a one-trick pony,” said Davies.

In an interview with The NEWS on Tuesday, the FORA spokesman pointed to a couple of issues that are on the group’s radar right now, aside from continually monitoring the OHC.

Davies said the region has a real need for upgraded ambulances that can utilize electrocardiogram technology which would let staff at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital understand better what kind of state a patient-in-transport is coming in to the emergency department. Doctors at NRGH could read the information coming from the ambulance’s equipment and even instruct ambulance personnel to inject the patient with clot-busters or conduct some other potentially life-saving measure on the way to hospital.

Not only could that kind of action safe a life, said Davies, it could lessen the length of stay for a patient in hospital, which means big saving for our health-care system.

Davies estimated the equipment could cost $10,000 an ambulance, plus the required training for paramedics.

Davies said FORA also has its eyes on helping improve funding for hospice services in the region.

As for the OHC, Davies said FORA recently sat down with local political leaders and senior health centre staff to exchange information and talk about wait-time complaints. He said things are getting better for those who visit the OHC’ urgent-care department as staff and the public better understand what are the busy times of day for the department and what issues should and should not be treated at urgent care.

Davies said the urgent care department is seeing 55-60 patients a day. The health authority has two full-time doctors and a pool of 20 part-time doctors to work in urgent care, said Davies.