Full house: Digby folk form health coalition to seek answers

Jonathan
Jonathan Riley, Digby Courier
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DIGBY – Area residents filled the Legion for a meeting about a citizen-led campaign to improve health care in Digby County.

More than 160 people came out for the founding meeting of the Digby County Health Coalition on March 23 to hear Tony Kelly describe a plan to figure out just what exactly has gone wrong so we can insist that government fix it.

Some were perhaps surprised to hear Kelly recite poetry, but those who know him were not.

I am so tired of waiting.

Aren’t you,

For the world to become good

And beautiful and kind?

Let us take a knife

And cut the world in two –

And see what worms are eating

At the rind.

He read the Langston Hughes poem to explain his strategy for finding out what has happened, what has gone right and what gone wrong with health care in Digby.

Among the worms he says we need to examine are the lack of doctors and the lack of medical staff willing to stay in Digby, difficulties with continuity of care, lack of access to care and long wait times, decline of care in Digby compared to neighbouring areas and the lack of transparency around recruitment and retention of staff.

Kelly suggested four main aims for the coalition:

- to tell the story of the decline of health services in Digby from 2005 to 2016

 - to insist the provincial government provide a public audit of the health authority’s ongoing failure to properly staff local health care institutions

Let us take a knife/ And cut the world in two – / And see what worms are eating / At the rind. Lanston Hughes

 - to shed light on the failure to recruit and retain health care professionals

 - to advocate for citizen informed solutions to the ongoing problem of the erosion of health care.

Peter Janson opened the meeting and introduced the meeting’s chair, Gwendolyn Wilson.

Wilson asked for volunteers to join the coalition’s core committee. They specifically were looking for someone to coordinate the collection of stories, someone to read and interpret policy documents, someone financial statements, someone to work on a webpage and someone to handle social media.

They also asked for people to volunteer for the guiding council with Wilson, Janson and Kelly.

Kelly says he expects to report back to the community in about three weeks on the progress they have made in forming the coalition and preparing to gather information.

“There is much work to be done and I hope we can, through research and local action, shine a very bright light on our troubles and work together to improve the situation here in this place,” said Kelly.

jriley@digbycourier.ca

Organizations: Digby County Health Coalition

Geographic location: Digby

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  • J D Smith
    J D Smith
    March 27, 2016 - 10:05

    Perhaps the collation can check into why doctors come here then suddenly move away. I wonder if it is because they are approached about participating in the Stirling County Studies where they are asked to provide patients private information to the study without their patients knowledge and once health care professionals find out this is an expected way of operating in the area as has been the case for over 40 years, they say "no way" as it is a violation of privacy and now illegal. Here is the article from the CBC on this http://www.cbc.ca/atlanticvoice/2015/05/22/stirling-county-study/ Something is truly not normal when it comes to getting and retaining health care professionals and the above study may very well be the worm in the apple.