Frequently Asked Questions

You’ve probably got a few questions, and our planning consultant Mark Holland has provided some concise answers.

If there’s a question we haven’t answered yet, please let us know.  
There’s a button at the bottom where you can Join the Conversation.

Thanks very kindly!

We've got significant problems with our public healthcare system, how is this project going to help fix things?

The Health Ministries, Departments, and Authorities are federal and provincial, but the actual “healthcare system” includes anyone who works in healthcare — and that includes every level of government and all of us.

We have all been too focused on the Province/Feds presuming they can/will fix things and we have all missed many issues and opportunities at the local level. We all have to do our part to fix the system.

To date, we have not paid enough attention to the “local level” of issues — like:
Housing Costs
Transportation and Parking
and others

For example, we can build a new clinic, but if we cannot attract/keep doctors and nurses, it’s just an empty building
(See Chilliwack’s current experience!)
If family doctors/nurses cannot work within the Provincial payment systems, then we have a problem.
But even if all those issues were fixed, the healthcare workers might still not be able to afford a home, or transportation, or childcare, or other basic things (all issues that are under the control or influence of local governments and communities), then we still end up with the same problem — unsustainable healthcare services.

This project aims to bring attention and action to what we can do locally — within our communities —
to support our healthcare workers.
We will continue to advocate for change at the Provincial and Federal levels, but in the meantime, we are not helpless.  
We can get on with helping keep our healthcare workers in our communities.

Is this project really going to help our broken healthcare system? Isn't your project just a lot of effort on the margins for small wins?

The health of our healthcare system fundamentally comes down to the health of our healthcare workers.
Without them, we do not have a healthcare system.

At the local level, what we can do is try to help them reduce their costs and stressors, and do what we can to help them meet their needs and have a decent quality of life — so they stay in our community and continue to serve us.

While the healthcare budget may be in the billions, that doesn’t help a nurse or a medical office assistant who can’t afford housing near where she works, or to pay gas costs and parking tickets or find childcare for her children over a night shift. And she may actually have to leave our community over those issues — regardless of what is happening in any
Health Ministry, Department, or Authority.

These “small things” are actually “big things” to our healthcare workers.
And we CAN do something about these things at our local level.

Ok, this sounds like a good idea but really complicated ... how do we spread it across all communities? Who is going to do/manage all that stuff?

We are going to identify and focus on some of the key things that will really help make a difference for our healthcare workers, and that we can get local support and take action on, including:

Housing Costs
Transportation and Parking
General Living Costs
Personal Wellbeing and Support
and others

    We want the Province to provide some funding to supplement the Saunders Family Foundation’s seed money, which will enable us to build a Game Plan and Toolbox for local communities to use — so every community does not have to reinvent the wheel.  We want to be able to provide a basic Playbook for each group in a community to guide them through the actions they can take, and tools to help them do it, to support their community’s healthcare workers.

    We will work with existing community leaders and organizations so they can organize and manage programs — such as the municipality, the Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club, Lions Club, Hospital Foundations, businesses, developers, and all the other great community organizations we have.

    Together we have an enormous amount of capacity — we just need to harness it and point it
    in the right direction to help our healthcare workers.

    What if your plan doesn't work?

    Some of what we will try will work and will have a big impact.  And some things will have a big impact in one place, but maybe less in another.

    Some things will not work as planned, and we’ll learn and change them.
    The problems remain and we’ll have to find other solutions if our first ideas don’t work.

    And if this project goes ahead, will it change the reality of retiring family doctors, a broken system, etc ...?

    There are deep structural challenges in our healthcare system that we at the local level cannot have a lot of impact on.
    But many of the challenges we face today are related to the physical, mental, and
    emotional health of our healthcare workers.
    We CAN help them with issues that impact their stress or wellbeing — and that helps change the
    culture of healthcare in our communities — and that will also help future healthcare workers as well.

    We can do this while the Province and the Feds get to work fixing the larger problems.

    Will this effort just prop up a broken system and allow politicians to get away with not fixing it?

    We are facing a crisis with our healthcare workers NOW, and we need a strategy, Game Plan, and Toolkit to
    begin to help them immediately, so we don’t lose them one by one, day by day.
    Big structural issues take time to fix, like billing systems, seats in medical schools, time to train workers, and many others. But other things we can move on right now at the local level.

    If our actions can help keep a family doctor or a nurse or any other healthcare worker from leaving our community this year, then we buy time to enable the bigger problems to be solved.

    And some of the problems our healthcare workers are facing are not short-term — they are the new permanent reality.
    Our new normal may include entrenched high housing prices, expensive education, mass retirements due to demographics, trends in career choice, high energy costs, and others.
    To respond to the “new normal”, we now need to add the health of our healthcare workers as a core policy priority in every community and use our local resources and capacity to help them going forward.

    … or we risk losing them.

    What does this project mean to me? What do I get out of it? What do I need to do about it, and how do I get involved?

    We all want a stable and secure healthcare system and healthy healthcare workers to support our family when we need them.  By supporting this project, we increase the probability our healthcare workers will stay and continue in our community to serve us.

    We are starting a pilot project now in the West Shore and we hope to be able to build this Playbook and Toolbox of initiatives in the next year so we can provide straightforward resources you can use in your neighbourhood and community to help keep your healthcare workers strong.

    Got a Question?

    If you have a question about the Community Healthcare Support Network Project proposed for Victoria’s West Shore community, please click on the link below to Join the Conversation.