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REPORTING · 26th May 2011
Walter McFarlane
At the Kitimat Health Advocacy Meeting scheduled for June 25th, there are many changes on the table ready to be voted on. The June meeting will be their Annual General Meeting.

“Next month, we are asking you to vote: ‘can we add to our constitution that the Kitimat Health Advocacy Group advocate for improved community health over time reflecting the changing needs of our community’ and ‘that the Kitimat Health Advocacy Group be recognized as the Advisory Council for our community and the Health Authority’” said KHAG Chair, Rob Goffinet at their meeting on May 14th.

Health Authorities, in the case Kitimat ever has one other than the Northern Health Authority, will be asked to consult with KHAG before establishing local health service plans or making changes to local health care services.

Goffinet explained while KHAG has been doing this for the last six years, it is not in their constitution, which deals with the recruitment and retention of personal. However, the organization has long branched out into other areas. NHA has listened to the group in the past on Physiotherapy, Ultrasound and Chemotherapy.

“It was constitutionally beyond the word by word of our incorporation document. This merely puts into our constitution that we advocate for improvement over time and that it reflects the current needs of our community. If we need more extended care because of demographics, that is a change in our community,” explained Goffinet.

Second, as an advisory council, NHA would come to all the community groups at the KHAG table and ask them to advise them on recommended changes. Goffinet stated these proposed changes came from NHA after reading the KHAG documents.

In addition to these changes, there are recommendations for further changes which have been made by a subcommittee and organized by the directors of KHAG. These changes will be discussed and voted on at the next meeting.

These recommendations would restructure and refocus KHAG so it would not be open to the public. Consideration for members would include representatives from Mayor and Council, the Hospital Auxiliary, representatives from Delta King and Kiwanis Village, Chamber of Commerce, Seniors, Unions, Child Development Centre, Cancer Society, a High School Student, Haisla Community and a small number of the public.

A report released to KHAG read: “With this slightly more ‘defined’ membership around the KHAG table each meeting, we would hope that interested members of the community that wished to share concerns about health matters in Kitimat would relay their concerns through the Directors or through our membership and would if they wished, be invited to speak to the membership by getting on to our agenda at any time.”

The proposed changes would also recommend changing the amount of meetings in a year, from, 12 down to 5. In addition, community meetings have been proposed once a year. Finally, the media would not be attending these meetings and instead, would receive press releases or information from the directors after the fact.

Of course, the above proposals will come to the KHAG table in June and are not yet approved.