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REPORTING · 1st April 2010
Walter McFarlane

The topic of Chemotherapy came up at the Kitimat Health Advocacy Group on Saturday, March 20th. Jonathon Cooper was delivering his report on the goings on at the Hospital.

He said they were training people for the position of Oncologist and had several candidates lined up and training. He added there was a report which the Cancer Care Agency was working on for the programs in Kitimat and Terrace. They were also waiting for their recommendations so they can have a discussion with Northern Health and BC Cancer Care Agency about how they respond to the report.

He said the patients were in support and everything was currently working fine in Terrace. He stated Oncology, the delivery of the drugs, is only a small component of the service.

Councillor Mario Feldhoff wanted to know how long it would take to get the program working in Kitimat. Cooper stated they were not going to change the training program but they were waiting for the report and a discussion before someone is placed in the community.

“We are continuing to train people so there is someone in Kitimat who is trained. However, until the report's been analyzed, we don’t know what the recommendations of the report are etc. If there is any work we need to do on that then; the kind of situation we’re in,” said Cooper.

He explained the report and the recommendations will be made public. Barb Campbell wanted to know if they were going to centralize all chemotherapy in Terrace. Cooper replied the service must meet requirements of safety and quality set down by the BC Cancer Care Agency and the option of offering this service only in Terrace is one they could select.

Campbell suspected this care could be regionalized in Terrace. Cooper did not have the answers but they were not his decision. Campbell stated she had a lot of friends who were cancer victims and she asked to have this report expidiatied so they could get on with their lives.

Cooper replied this is a Provincial Report, not a Northern Health Report. The fear is that this service would be centralized in Terrace. One of the people at the table commented she was worried about the senior population in Kitimat who had a hard time speaking English, had a long trip to Terrace and back and some of them do not drive.

Cooper justified this as people have been doing this for the last few months while the service was not offered. He reminded her there was public transport. Luella Froess pointed out the public transport did not conform to peoples schedules. She pointed out there was an hour to Terrace, an hour back and time to kill in Terrace.

“This is not easy for Cancer People,” said Froess.

Cooper pointed out the main part of the Oncology is Safety and Quality of the service. He also pointed out there was a large turnover of staff. Feldhoff said this was turning into a rewrite of an older meeting. Cooper reminded him the person was being trained but this was subject to the report.

Feldhoff and Cooper debated on what the training would entail and if the trainee would be bounced into another community. Cooper did not want to speculate on what the report would entail. With the person almost trained, Feldhoff suggested offering chemotherapy in Kitimat until the report came in.

Barb Campbell anticipated this report would say people from Kitimat could travel the hour to Terrace as people in the lower mainland must travel two hours for chemotherapy. She was afraid this would chip further away at the hospital

“It’s not good enough, people, it’s not good enough,” said Campbell.

The report came in. The report calls into question the citing of the Chemotheropist in Kitimat by saying there is not enough volume here and the training and the efficiency will be compromised.

The Kitimat Health Advocacy Group fears this program will be moved to Terrace and is meeting later today at noon to discuss this issue. Dr. Ronald Chapman and Michal Landsinger to talk about the Cancer study. They want to know what they can do to keep the services in Kitimat.