New Integrated Health Care Centre Coming to Sooke (BC Ministry of Health press release)
Original post: Nov. 28, 2022
The Mayor will be in Ottawa for Federation of Canadian Municipalities meetings next week, and I've been enlisted to be her stand-in at a meeting involving the Island Health Board of Directors and representatives from the Sooke Region Communities Health Network, Sooke Shelter Society and West Coast Family Medical Clinic, among others.
This will be followed by an Island Health public information session at the Community Hall from 2:30 to 4 PM on Thurs. Dec. 8. All are welcome as per this invitation:
- Get an update on health and care delivery from Island Health President & CEO Kathy MacNeil and meet local Island Health leaders.
- Meet your local Medical Health Officer, Dr. Murray Fyfe, for an update on public health and wellness.
- Enjoy a presentation from local Island Health staff and community organizations.
- Have your questions answered. Questions can be submitted in advance by emailing email@example.com or asked by those attending the in-person event.
At time likes this, of necessity, interest and the fact that I'm a relative know-nothing on the subject, I do what I always do: Pull all that's health-themed from my groaning file cabinets, pepper Google with inquiries and trust I'll reach some fake-it/make-it degree of armchair knowledge by the time I'm required to say a few words on behalf of the boss next week.
The critical need identified long ago and very much front-and-centre now: A hybrid Community Health Centre/Urgent Primary Care Centre for the Sooke region. Outside of limited weekday hours, residents without their own local doctors and sometimes even so must trek a half-hour to the west shore when emergencies strike, braving unpredictable traffic in the process. CHC's continue to open in BC, including this clinic in Colwood. Ours would provide significantly expanded quarters for the West Coast Family Medical Clinic team of physicians, nurses and nurse practitioners now operating from its current Evergreen Mall location. They'd be joined by an additional cohort of health-care professionals who'd provide emergency services.
The District has reserved the southeast quadrant of the nearby Lot A for this purpose (as per this paragraph from the 2019 Lot A Charette final report: "5-or-6-storey Health Centre with limited-size independent commercial retail units on the base and market housing units on the upper floors. This quadrant would include an underground parking component ... conceived as a wood-frame building with a total floor area of approximately 7,000m2.") That's the concept, which would be subject to variation based on real-world negotiations as the Sooke-owned property is integrated with the rest of Evergreen Mall (owned by Guelph-based Skyline Group of Companies.)
Dedicated, planning and advocacy work by the District's Primary Health Care Services Working Group (PHCSWG) has kept this vision on the front-burner with Island Health and the Ministry, and there it remains. Meeting routinely, the group pairs the Mayor, local physicians, reps from the Sooke Region Communities Health Network (SRCHN) and other health professionals.
The CHC/UPCC project on Lot A is being coordinated by SRCHN's Mary Dunn, Rick Robinson and Annemieke Holthuis with Island Health, BC Association of Community Health Centres, West Coast Family Medical Clinic and West Communities Patient Care Network. West Coast Family Medical Clinic would be based in this space, which would be governed by SRCHN, a registered charity.
No wonder our MLA John Horgan is reputed to have said: "There is no community better prepared for this than Sooke." May it be so!
More on the proposed facility ...
"SRCHN’s work with West Coast Family Medical Clinic, the District of Sooke, Island Health, the BC Association of Community Health Centres resulted in successful approval of our preliminary proposal for a Community Health Centre/Urgent Primary Care Centre in Sooke. We are currently working on the final proposal. The success of this proposal will allow us to work with a developer to build a new CHC/UPCC. The transitioning of West Coast Family Medical Clinic and addition of more staff will allow more access to urgent and ongoing medical care for Sooke residents." ~ SRCHN President Mary Dunn in the organization's 2022 Annual Report
"In contrast to solo practitioner models, Community Health Centres offer high-quality primary care through a collaborative team approach. Social workers, family physicians, nurse practitioners, nurses, dietitians, chiropodists, dental hygienists, therapists and other clinicians provide services in a team environment, based on patient needs. Community Health Centres integrate team-based primary care with health promotion programs, illness prevention programs, community health initiatives and social services focused on housing, food security and other inputs for health. This reduces silos and makes services more accessible. CHCs exemplify the World Health Organization’s definition and recommendations for “primary health care”. A SRCHN working group has been established to explore partnerships to advance the build of a much needed CHC in our semi-rural community."
The BC Association of Community Health Centre's defines a CHC as "multi-sector health and healthcare organizations that deliver integrated, people-centred services and programs that reflect the needs and priorities of the diverse communities they serve. CHCs are created by not-for-profit organizations and co-operatives that are committed to providing comprehensive, accessible, affordable, and culturally-appropriate services through a collaborative team approach."
The following is another hodge-podge of live links and direct quotations compiled for my education and reference. It's been a particularly useful and revealing exercise to chronicle the many, if by no means all, steps, forums, reports, motions and day-long workshops undertaken by so many in Sooke since incorporation who've organized and advocated for improved local health care.
And yes, this subject doesn't vie with housing as the public's leading concern without good reason. This recent CBC town hall is as good a context-setter as any. Or read The Tyee's 2022 reporting here, here and here.
Province of BC
BC Ministry of Health
"The Ministry of Health has overall responsibility for ensuring that quality, appropriate, cost effective and timely health services are available for all British Columbians."
- Medical Services Plan
- HealthLink BC (Call 811 for 24/7 health advice)
- Primary and Community Care in BC: A Strategic Policy Framework (2015)
BC Ministry of Mental Health & Addictions
"The Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions was created in 2017 to build a seamless, coordinated network of mental health and addictions services that works for everyone in B.C., as well as lead the response to the toxic drug crisis."
- A Pathway to Hope: 2018-28 ~ "This new strategy lays out government’s 10-year vision for mental health and substance use care, in which people living in B.C.’s mental health and well-being are supported from youth to adulthood and programs and services are available to tackle challenges early on."
- 2020 Update/Progress Report
- Canadian Mental Health Association BC 2020-21 Annual Report
BC Ministry of Children and Family Development
"The Ministry of Children and Family Development’s primary focus is to support all children and youth in British Columbia to live in safe, healthy and nurturing families and be strongly connected to their communities and culture. The ministry supports the well-being of children, youth and families in British Columbia by providing services that are accessible, inclusive, and culturally respectful."
- Annual Service Plan Report 2022
- Mandate Letter
Age-Friendly BC Program
- Tools and Resources
- Becoming An Age-Friendly Community (2014, PDF)
- Age-Friendly BC: Lessons Learned (2007-2010)
"The federal Minister of Health is responsible for maintaining and improving the health of Canadians. This is supported by the Health Portfolio which comprises Health Canada, the Public Health Agency of Canada, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Patented Medicine Prices Review Board and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency."
First Nations Health Authority
"The FNHA is the health and wellness partner to over 200 diverse First Nations communities and citizens across BC. In 2013, the FNHA began a new era in BC First Nations health governance and health care delivery by taking responsibility for the programs and services formerly delivered by Health Canada."
- Governance model
- 2020/21 Annual Report
Vancouver Island: South Island
"Through a network of hospitals, clinics, centres, health units, and residential facilities, Island Health provides health care to people on Vancouver Island, on the islands of the Georgia Strait, and in the mainland communities between Powell River and Rivers Inlet." The authority covers four overall regions on Vancouver Island and the mainland.
- Services offered and specialty clinic locations
- Island Health President & CEO Kathy MacNeil
- Island Health Board of Directors
- Island Health ED, Clinical Service Delivery Sarah Crawford-Bohl
- Medical Health Officer (Population & Public Health) Dr. Murray Fyfe
- Medical staff website portal
- Clinical Operations org chart (region including Sooke)
- Local Health Area Profile: The Western Communities (2019 profile) are one of 14 health areas under Island Health's watch as defined by the Ministry of Health. Ours is comprised of Sooke, Langford, Colwood, Metchosin and Highlands.
- Community Health Facts: Westshore and Sooke (2013)
- Island Health Facebook page (notable at the moment for the chain of messages about temporary service disruptions at clinics in Port Hardy, Ladysmith and Chemainus due to a lack of physicians.)
Primary Care Network Steering Committee
(co-chaired by Sooke's Dr. Robin Saunders, who also co-chairs Partners for Better Health)
South Island Division of Family Practice
- West shore and Sooke recruitment page
- FETCH (For Everything That's Community Health) online listing of 2,200 resources in Greater Victoria (physicians, medical specialists, substance use/addiction, seniors, mental health counselling, low-income support, etc.)
Sooke and Region
(scan down for an overview of past initiatives and events leading to the present situation)
T'Sou-ke Nation Health Care Centre
- T'Sou-ke Nation Health
- New Community Care Centre Will Deliver Better Health Care to the T'Sou-ke Nation (Ministry of Municipal Affairs)
- T'Sou-ke Community Hall and Health Centre (Urban Arts Architecture) + TC article
West Coast Family Medical Clinic, Sooke
The busy Evergreen Mall base for medical care in Sooke. Created in the 2011 merger of Evergreen Medical Clinic and Harbour Medical Clinic. It is home to ten doctors, one nurse practitioner, a social worker, a dietitian and three registered nurses. Together they deliver family practice basics and collectively cover a diverse range of specialities: Maternity care, neurology, chronic pain management, oncology, cancer care, addictions, chronic pain, palliative care, chronic disease management and primary health care included. You'll find bios and individual skill sets/responsibilities for the 16-person-strong team here.
- "Sooke's Creative Approach to Health Care" (Black Press, May 5, 2022)
* Vacancy notice: Nurse Practitioner (shared here since it explains the position)
"West Coast Family Medical is looking for a Nurse Practitioner to fill a temporary one year term. In this sub-contracted position the nurse practitioner works within a Primary Care Network and, together with other members of an interprofessional care team, provides full scope team-based primary care for a panel of patients.
The nurse practitioner is responsible and accountable for the comprehensive assessment of patients/ clients/ residents including diagnosing diseases, disorders and conditions. The Nurse practitioner initiates treatment including health care management, therapeutic interventions and prescribes medications in accordance with the statutory and regulatory standards, limits and conditions, policy and guidelines. The Nurse Practitioner provides professional guidance to students and other health professionals and practices autonomously and interdependently within the context of an interdisciplinary health care team, making referrals to physicians and others as appropriate.
This position collaborates with patients/ clients/ residents and other members of the interdisciplinary team to identify and assess trends and patterns that have implications for patients/ clients/ residents, families and communities; develops and implement population and evidence based strategies to improve health and participates in policy-making and quality activities that influence health services and practices. The position participates in peer review and self-review to evaluate the outcome of services at the patient/client/resident, community and population level and to continuously improve quality and safety."
LifeLabs Sooke (laboratory services)
West Coast Medical Imaging + Greater Victoria locations
Ayre Manor Seniors' Housing
Independent and assisted living, complex care and hospice beds. Opened in Jan. 2008. Owned by the Sooke Elderly Citizens' Housing Society (SECHS), a local non-profit charitable society formed in 1968 by the Old Age Pensioners Organization. Ayre Manor is supported by Island Health and the District of Sooke in association with SECHS.
- Construction begins on Ayre Manor (March 2007)
- Expansion Plans for a new 56-bed wing (2012)
- Expansion Plans Stalled (2017)
- Accreditation Canada acknowledgement (March 2021)
Sooke Shelter Society
Hope Centre Supportive Housing and Shelter (BC Housing website)
- Who To Call infographic
- BC Housing inquiry form and phone contact: "We welcome questions and feedback on this project through the Q&A tool on this page or to firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to welcoming the community to tour the building once renovations are complete (1Q 2023) and encourage you to contact us about a tour."
Sooke Homelessness Coalition
A satellite working group of the Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness
Sooke Family Resources Society
- Sooke Early Years Programs
- West Shore Early Years Programs
- Child Care Resource and Referral (CCRR)
- Youth Services
- Family Services
- Adults with Disabilities
- Bridging the Digital Divide
- Island Health Sooke Health Unit at Sooke Family Resources Society
Sooke Region Communities Health Network
"Since 2003, the Sooke Co-operative Association of Service Agencies (CASA) and the grassroots Sooke Region Community Health Initiative (CHI) have worked together to benefit the Sooke Region from Port Renfrew to Beecher Bay. In 2016, the two merged their resources and officially became Sooke Region Communities Health Network (SRCHN). It operates as a cooperative non-profit organization with charitable status, which allows it to manage its own grant funding and to act as an umbrella organization for other voluntary groups."
SRCHN annual service agreement since 2014 with the District of Sooke. Island Health provides matching funds for a part-time coordinator position filled by SRCHN Executive Director Christine Bossi. The DOS agreement requires ...
- Sooke Region Resource website
- Sooke Age Friendly Committee (meets monthly under the direction of chair Roy Brown and guided by Christine)
- Achievement of BC Age-Friendly Committee status
- Planning for Seniors/Youth Community Activity Centre (aka The Gathering Place)
- Identify community needs, facilitate community activities
- Create collaborations and partnerships
- Address issues identified by the Primary Health Care Working Group
- Maintain/develop relationships at regional and provincial levels
- Promote and bolster volunteer activities
SRCHN Reports and Studies
* Youth Activities Report (2021)
* Sooke Region Homelessness Consultation (2021)
* Sooke Region Food Security Report (2021)
BC Healthy Communities Age-Friendly Action Guide (2020)
Sooke and Juan de Fuca Health Foundation
Founded in 2018 to "make funding available to local charities who are working hard to provide health-related services to our local communities." Grants from its general fund have been used to purchase equipment for Ayre Manor and the West Coast Family Medical Clinic and Ayre Manor. The Mary Brown Memorial Fund was established last year specifically to address mental health and disability needs; to date its grants have funded counselling services at the Sooke Shelter Society and the Sooke Family Resources Society. A long-time Shirley resident, Mary Brown was a psychiatric social worker who supported people with disabilities and mental health challenges in Canada, UK, and Australia.
- Board of Directors
- How to Give donations options + Canada Helps direct link
Sooke Food Bank
Nov. 2022: "Sooke Residents Are Super Generous" (CTV News)
- Canada Helps donation page
- EMCS Leadership students' 10,000 Tonight food drives
- Christmas Bureau
- Sooke Fire Services campaign + Santa Run
- Grace Garden at the Sooke Baptist Church
2018 Statistics (most recent on the website):
Number of Hampers: 3,270
Average 96 families per week
Average 78 children per week
Average 143 adults per week
Cost to date: $229,069.70
Total Pounds: 118,947
Total Kilograms: 53,953
Sooke Transition House Society
"Provides emergency shelter for women and their children who are in crisis resulting from family violence. Counselling, education, prevention and advocacy."
Sooke Hospice Society
"The Sooke Hospice Society is a team of trained volunteers and professionals dedicated to the physical, emotional and spiritual care of individuals who are palliative, as well as their families and loved ones, within the community of Sooke."
CONTACT: Community Assistance Society
Low-cost loans of medical equipment (canes, crutches, wheelchairs)
Sooke Region Community Portal data base for seniors.
District of Sooke
- Service agreements with annual funding to ...
* Sooke Region Communities Health Network
* Sooke Family Resource Society
* Sooke Food Bank
- District grant-hosting for the Sooke Shelter Society's Strengthening Communities grant (2021/22)
- District support, council liaison and ongoing engagement via Sooke Bylaw, Sooke Fire Services and Sooke RCMP with the Sooke Homelessness Coalition and local homelessness.
- Community Grants Program support for miscellaneous health-related organizations, including (in 2022) ...
* SFRS Pre-Natal Program ($7k from the Covid-19 Safe Restart reserve fund)
* Sooke Shelter Society ($7k from the Covid-19 Safe Restart reserve fund)
* Steps to the Future Childcare Society ($5k from the Covid-19 Safe Restart reserve fund)
* KidSport Greater Victoria ($7k)
* Take A Hike Foundation ($5k)
* Victoria Brain Injury Society ($1k)
Sooke Service Gaps
Leading Service Gap: Community Health Centre/Urgent Primary Care Centre
Sooke currently lacks and has long lobbied for a dedicated Urgent Primary Care Centre (UPCC) operating with sufficient staffing and hours common to other UPCCs in British Columbia. District land for this centre is reserved on Lot A.
Patients with doctors in Sooke can drop-in to the West Coast Family Medical Clinic during urgent care hours (M-F, Noon to 4:30 PM). Outside those hours (and for all those without local doctors), individuals are advised to book appointments at the Westshore Urgent Primary Care Centre in Langford.
- Urgent care (same day) services are for people who need care within 12-24 hours but do not require an emergency department and who do not have access to a family doctor, nurse practitioner or walk-in clinic in a suitable time frame.
- Patients experiencing chest pains, severe head injuries or broken bones and any concerns requiring immediate blood testing, x-rays or other diagnostic tests cannot be treated at the UPCC and should attend their local hospital’s emergency department or call 9-1-1 during a health emergency.
- Patients will be assessed at the Westshore UPCC upon arrival and registered to be seen as capacity allows.
- Please note that due to patient volumes, appointments are not guaranteed. Please check medimap.ca for wait times and capacity.
As the West Coast Family Medical Clinic website states: "Please note that the Westshore Urgent Primary Care Centre is the designated clinic for local residents without a Primary Care Provider ... We recognize that many residents of Sooke do not have access to a Primary Care Provider. West Coast Family Medical Clinic does provide limited, same-day access to a Primary Care Provider for local residents (Sooke to Port Renfrew) through our Urgent Care Clinic [open M-F, Noon to 4:30 PM]. Please note that demand for this service usually exceeds our capacity ... To help us better serve those in our community with urgent medical issues or without a Primary Care Provider, please make every effort to see your own Family Physician or Nurse Practitioner for your medical concerns whenever possible. Same-day appointments in the Urgent Care Clinic can be booked online (online booking only available to patients who already have a chart at our office) or by calling our office at 250-642-4233. Phones are answered from 8:30-12:00, and from 1:00-4:30 (3:30 on Fridays). Please note that it can be difficult to get through by telephone at times due to high call volumes."
- New UPCC Will Deliver Better Health Care to the West Shore (Ministry of Health press release, Oct. 26, 2018)
- West Shore Clinic Busiest in the Province, Health Minister Says (Times Colonist, Nov. 26, 2019)
Other Urgent and Primary Care Centres in Greater Victoria
- James Bay Urgent Primary Care Centre – Victoria
- Esquimalt Urgent Primary Care Centre – Esquimalt
- Downtown Victoria Urgent and Primary Care Centre - Victoria
- North Quadra Urgent Primary Care Centre – Saanich
- Gorge Urgent and Primary Care Centre – Victoria
Community Health Centres
- Island Sexual Health Community Health Centre – Victoria
X-Ray Services in Sooke
- West Coast Medical Imaging Services (M to F, 11 to 4 PM)
- "Sooke Mayor Pushing or Beter X-Ray Services" - Sooke News Mirror (Nov. 2015)
- Advocacy statement
- "In late 2017, West Coast Medical Imaging improved the X-Ray technology available in Sooke"
Speech therapist? SRCH advocacy in 2017
More on CHCs: BC Association of Community Health Centres
"BCACHC exists to support and advance the Community Health Centre (CHC) model and engage, advocate for, and support CHCs as an integral part of health and social service delivery in BC communities."
- What Is a Community Health Centre?
- The Importance of Community Health Centres in BC's Medical Care Reforms (Canadian Centre Policy Alternatives, 2019)
- Building Ties With The Health System (CARES, 2020)
- Roadmap to a CHC
"Sooke has very little capacity to support the growing needs for Island Health Mental Health and Substance Use (MHSU) services for our community. There is one free service -- Urgent Short Term Assessment and Treatment (USTAT) -- with capacity or capacity to serve 16 sessions a week. As small as the free service is, it is currently (October 2022) experiencing challenges with a staffing shortage. The USTAT position has been understaffed for several months … There is no equitable access to MHSU services for people with low income or who lack insurance. There is not enough support available for people who have a low capacity to navigate complex access systems. We have to do better.”
Back Story: Sooke Health & Preventative Care Initiatives
* Way Back: I'll browse the Sooke Story for clues when i get a chance.
* Pre-2000: "Becoming an Age Friendly Community, a place where seniors, and all ages, are respected and supported has been the goal of community members long before the term was coined. As our community grew its members identified a need for seniors’ supports. As early as 1945 a Sooke Over 60’s Club was formed, which was the forerunner to the Old Age Pensioners Organization, Branch#88. From that group sprung the Sooke Elderly Citizens Housing Society and the Contact Community Assistance Society (Loan Cupboard and Contact Drivers). By 1975 another group was providing a ‘Meals on Wheels’ program as well as inexpensive lunches. This eventually developed into the Sooke Senior Drop-In Centre. The Sooke Elderly Citizens Housing Society worked tirelessly for over 40 years to acquire land and build an assisted living and extended care building in Sooke. The New Horizons Activity Society was formed in the 1980’s and later became the Sooke Seniors Activity Society which raised funds to purchase and operate a bus to assist with seniors’ transportation to events and shopping excursions." - from the Executive Summary of the Sooke Age-Friendly Action Plan (2015)
* 2005: The Sooke Youth & Adult Navigator Project, Dr. Ellen Anderson and Susan Larke. <clip> "In our rural and remote communities, challenged by MHA service access issues, a community-supported Navigator model was designed to increase access to comprehensive, strengths-based assessment, planning and referral facilitation ... Our model utilised the service of two navigators with complementary skills in social work and psychiatric rehabilitation. One navigator focused primarily on youth under age 19 years and one navigator worked primarily with adults. One navigator was female and one was male. However, it was very important for both of them to be able to work with clients of any age and either sex."
* 2006/2007: Mayor Evans and her council continue advocacy with the Vancouver Island Health Authority, MLA John Horgan and others for improved health care, notably collaboration with the Sooke Elderly Citizens Housing Society re: the future Ayre Manor Lodge. Other health-oriented work included attendance at the Premier's Council on Seniors and Aging Forum, the Victoria Community Task Force on Cystal Meth, a BC Healthy Community Initiatives workshop, and Planning Institute of British Columbia workshop.
* Sept. 23, 2006: Sooke Community Health Initiative Forum at the Community Hall
* Oct. 10, 2006: Announcement that VIHA had signed a $16.1 million contract to construct Ayre Manor.
* Sept. 8, 2008: "What will it take to create a more age-friendly Sooke?" - day-long conference hosted by Sooke Economic Development Commission in partnership with Sooke Harbour Chamber of Commerce. Participants explored ideas on topics including Community Infrastructure, Safety & Security, Health Services, Active Aging, Life Long Learning, Communication, and Transportation.
* 2009: Launch of Sooke Region Food CHI
* 2013: Sooke Region Community Health Initiative (CHI) designated as the official Age-Friendly Committee for the District of Sooke
* Fall, 2013: The Primary Health Care Services Working Group (PHCSWG) was formed based on input from the community through Mayor Milne's Advisory Panel on Community Health and Social Initiatives. The working group included members from Sooke Region CHI, Sooke Volunteer Centre, the West Coast Family Medical Clinic, the South Island Division of Family Practice, Island Health and the District of Sooke.
* Dec. 2013: "A GP for Me" forum. (Britt Santowski's Sooke News Mirror story linked here notes that the BC Liberals made a “2010 Government commitment to provide a family physician for any BC resident who wants one by 2015.”)
* 2014: District Service agreement with SRCHN to fund Age Friendly work and meet senior and volunteer goals outlined in the Official Community Plan. (see details at end of this post)
* Highlights of 2013/14 work by PHCSWG
(Nicky Logins, Marlene Barry, Dr. Ellen Anderson, Emma Isaac, Linda Nehra, Wendal Milne)
- Joined Island-wide initiative for a "physician recruitment navigator" position
- Highlighted gap in X-ray and ultrasound servcies in Sooke. Four UVic Master of Business Administration students develop a business plan for diagnostic services in Sooke
- "Managing At Home: Support Needs for Sooke Seniors" study funded through BC Age-Friendly grant to assess needs of seniors who are medically at risk and facing social isolation.
- Worked with Island Health to fund two additional hospice beds for Ayre Manor
- Advocate for support of the Integrated Health Network in Sooke
* Nov. 2014: Island Health Board of Directors meetings in Sooke hosted by Maja Tait and the District
* Dec. 15, 2014: Sooke council appoints a liaison (Mayor Tait) to the PHCSWG. States the Committee of the Whole report: "By focusing on buiding not just the physical infrastructure of our community but also the social infrastructure, local elected officials work hand-in-hand with health care professionals to contribute to citizen's health and social needs." At this time, 74% of Sooke residents do not have doctors in Sooke; remaining 26% lack a doctor at all. Waiting list of 800 patients at West Coast Family Medical Clinic.
* October 2015: Release of District of Sooke Age-Friendly Action Plan
"A strong commitment to supporting our seniors, volunteering and caring for others has helped Sooke to become the place it is now. Sooke is an Age Friendly community with a vision and many citizens have the desire to make it more so. We’ve come together to make things happen in the past and will continue to do so far into the future. We understand that when we build to ‘Age Friendly’ we build to accommodate all ages and abilities."
- 2015: The Province and BC Healthy Communities recognized the District of Sooke as a community that has demonstrated "incredible commitment to supporting older residents to remain healthy and active in their communities."
* May 28, 2016: Sooke Region Health Summit at the Community Hall hosted by Mayor Tait. Organized around four topics: Healthy Food Accessibility; Special Populations; Medical Services & Infrastructure; Social and Physical Activities. Gaps that were identified in these areas informed the ongoing work of the PHCSWG and the District of Sooke. Read the final report here.
* Nov. 2016: "No Easy Fix for Doctor Shortage" - Kevin Laird, Sooke News Mirror
* April, 2017: The CRD Hospitals and Housing Committee endorsed Mayor Tait’s motion entitled, “Support for Pilot Project: A Regional Health Care Facility in Sooke”. Discussion ensued regarding:
"- the similar challenges regarding healthcare for residents of Victoria and Sooke and if they are more acute in Sooke,
- the different needs perceived by the public versus healthcare professionals,
- being a part of the CRD means that residents of Sooke are requested to use the facilities in the region that are not necessarily local,
- any facility would be open to residents of Victoria and reduce the load on services in Victoria, and
- the challenges of the highway to Sooke."
MOVED by Director Tait, SECONDED by Director Helps, That the Hospitals and Housing Committee recommends to the Capital Regional District Board that: The District of Sooke and the Sooke Region Primary Health Care Services Working Group calls on the Capital Regional Hospital District, the Province of British Columbia, Island Health, and all levels of government to support a regional health care facility in Sooke. CARRIED
* Summer/Fall 2017: The Sooke Planning Steering Committee was subsequently formed. Committee members include Mayor Tait as well as representatives from the CRD, Sooke Family Physicians, SIDFP, Island Health and the CHN. See agenda package for: 1. Sooke Region Health Summit – Final Report (Draft); 2. Sooke Fire Rescue Department – Emergency Call Statistics; 3. Correspondence regarding Health Care Services in Sooke; 4. Island Health – 2014 Sooke Local Health Area Profile; 5. Sooke Pocket News Survey – Medical Services in Sooke, April, 2017.
* Nov. 2017: Sooke Community Heath Care Stakeholders Consultation. Five identified needs:
"1. Improved Access to Primary Care: Participants identified the desire for more primary care providers (GPs and Nurse Practitioners), citing limited clinic space and incentives to attract more GPs as barriers. The desire for access to longer primary care hours in the evenings and on weekends, including Sundays and holidays was expressed. Same-day access to primary care in urgent circumstances was also desired. Many participants indicated that co-located space would be desirable with all-primary health services integrated (virtually or by physical co-location).
2. Care provided by a team of health care providers (team-based care): Participants indicated that having a care team focused on seniors would be valuable. Also, having Nurse Practitioners or Registered Nurses attached to the Physician clinic would be desired to improve access to primary care.
3. Access to more specialized, locally accessible services: Participants identified the need for more access to Mental Health and Substance Use services, including walk-in services. Also, increased services for isolated seniors were suggested, along with the idea of having a drop-in seniors’ activity centre.
4. Improved access to other key enablers: Currently x-ray services in Sooke are available 7.5 hours/week (Tuesday 8:30am-11:00 am, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 9am-11:30am) and laboratory services are available on weekdays (8am-4pm Mondays to Fridays). The community identified more service hours are desirable to improve access and reduce the need to travel outside the community for these services. Maximizing the use of electronic medical/health records was also cited as a key enabler to bolster service provision.
5. Supporting population wellness: Improved health literacy (access to information on wellbeing and how/where to access services) was deemed a priority for participants. Improved transportation (both within Sooke and to destinations outside Sooke) was also cited by participants as needed, particularly on weekends (note: transportation issues are considered out of scope for this plan). Road improvement needs were also identified."
* May 18, 2018: Aging With Grace: Sooke Region Age 55+ Summit
Keynote speech by Dr. David Docherty, School of Exercise Science, Physical and Health Education, University of Victoria + Overview of the 2018 Provincial Seniors' Summit by Doni Eve, Senior Manager, Healthy Aging, for the Population and Public Health Division of the BC Ministry of Health + talk by Sooke Registered Clinical Counsellor Janet Raynor Thorn titled "/The Croning Years: The Later Life Transformations" + break-out groups re: ElderConnect Seniors' Info Hub.
* June 16, 2018: Sooke Community Health Service Engagement with stakeholders at Community Hall
* Aug. 2018: Sooke Community Health Service Planning Report (Island Health/District of Sooke)
* Winter/Spring 2018/19: Lot A Charette Concept Plan identifies best possible uses of the town-centre, District-owned property's southeast quadrant as a "5-6-storey Health Centre with limited size independent commercial retail units on the base and market housing units on the upper floors. Second floor office space is also appropriate. This quadrant would include an underground parking component ... conceived as a wood-frame building with a total floor area of approximately 7,000m2."
- April 26, 2019: "Expanded Primary Care Coming to Sooke" (Ministry of Health press release)
- June, 12, 2020: Official opening of expanded West Coast Family Medical Clinic; "Sooke Clinic Aims to Connect More Patients With Doctors" (Times Colonist)
- 2020/21/22: Advocacy continues with the Ministry of Health for a hybrid Community Heath Centre/Urgent Primary Care Centre on the southeast quadrant of Lot A.
Media Coverage: BC Health Care Issues
~ "BC's Health-Care Crisis Is Unrelenting: What Can Be Done To Fix It?" (CBC, Sept. 19, 2022; includes link to the Situation Critical town hall with Minister Dix and others)
~ "BC Liberals Call for Audit of Urgent and Primary Care Centres" (Times Colonist, July 27, 2022)
~ "BC Health Care System Strengthened by New Payment Model for Doctors" (Ministry of Health, Oct. 31, 2022)
~ "BC Health Minister Calls for Trudeau to Engage on Health Funding" (CBC, Nov. 6, 2022)
- Family Doctors Care: The Role and Value of Family Physicians in BC (BC College of Family Physicians, 2020)
* BC 211
Free, confidential hot-line consultation 24/7 in 150 languages
* BC Centre For Disease Control
- Covid 19 page
- Business protocols
- Link to current Province-wide regulations
* Canadian Mental Health Association: BC Division
* Doctors of BC website + Advocating for family physicians
Greater Victoria Hospitals
Capital Regional Hospital District
This CRD corporation "partners with Island Health and community stakeholder agencies to develop and improve healthcare facilities in the region and provide capital funding for infrastructure such as acute care, residential care and hospital equipment.
- 10-Year Capital Plan (through 2032)
Victoria General Hospital
"Victoria General started as St. Joseph’s Hospital in 1876. The name was changed when the Sisters of St. Ann gave it to the province in 1972.t The new VGH opened in 1983 on Hospital Way off Helmcken. A 368-bed community-based acute- care facility, it provides general adult & pediatric surgery including orthopedics, endoscopy, maternity & neo-natal ser- vices, sexual assault nurse examiner, as well as mammography, asthma, dia- betes, & respiratory clinics, cancer care, icu, rehabilitation, and much more."
Royal Jubilee Hospital
Founded in the 1860s and now featuring 500 beds. It offers critical care, surgery, diagnostics, emergency facilities, with a special focus on cardiac medicine.
Victoria Hospital Foundation
Supporting care teams at Royal Jubilee, VGH and Gorge Road hospitals.
Third United Way of British Columbia Provincial Aging Summit (2022)
"The District of Sooke has entered into a Service Agreement with the SRCHN to provide the following services:
• Sooke Region Resource website:
o website improvements, updates and maintenance;
• Age Friendly Committee for Sooke:
o develop planning and/or activities to achieve official provincial status for Sooke as an Age Friendly Community
• Seniors/Youth/Community Activity Centre:
o Identify the needs of the community
o Initiate and facilitate community forum/s or other opportunities to discuss development of a community activity centre, and to inform Council on this initiative
o Solicit partnerships and engage support from interested potential partner organizations
o Goal of September 30 2014 completion date for these services
• Primary Health:
o address issues identified through the Primary Health Care Working Group and Mayor‘s Panel, Community Health and Social Initiatives
o maintain and further develop relationships at regional and provincial levels for community health initiatives
• Volunteer Initiatives:
o Explore funding opportunities to implement OCP identified Volunteer initiatives and activities that promote Sooke‘s claim as the Volunteer Capital of Canada
VIHA has been an avid supporter of SRCHN, matching funds provided by the District of Sooke to fund our activites. As of 2014, VIHA has provided funding for a part-time coordinator's position to futher collaboration and increase opportunities for the region. This was very appreciated by SRCHN as grants often do not provide the possibility to pay indirect costs such as services rendered."
Here's an excerpt (shared by permission) of the speaking notes read by Roy Brown at a memorial concert for his late wife Mary Brown held at the Anglican Church in December, 2022. The concert was a Sooke and Juan de Fuca Health Foundation fundraiser for Mary Brown Memorial Fund, which supports local charities delivering services to people with mental health and/or disability needs. A social scientist and practitioner, Roy is Chair of the Sooke Age-Friendly Committee and recipient of the Dr Robert E; Cooke Lifetime achievement award-American Academy of Developmental Medicine and Dentistry.
"The following are some of the challenges faced by the relevant families where there are challenging and serious life issues. If one compares life satisfaction characteristics between families with disability issues with a random sample of the population of the same age without mental health and disability concerns, there are great discrepancies in the following:
- Health issues
- Financial wellbeing
- Family relations
- Support from other people
- Support from Disability related services - Over 50% of those responding are dissatisfied or very dissatisfied.
- Spiritual and cultural needs.
- Careers and preparation for careers.
- Leisure and enjoyment of life.
- Community and civic involvement.
The more severe the conditions the greater the discrepancy between the control group (no major mental health or disability issues) and those with disabilities. This data was collected in BC and is consistent with other studies.
I want to make such concerns more concrete and exemplify one simple technique that can be introduced. In one sense light hearted but serious. My mom was celebrating her 100th birthday and was at a party with care staff from the day program she attended. She had severe Alzheimer’s. She brought along a book of photos representing her life. Staff asked to look at it. Mom wanted to know what the staff were talking about. Well Mom, the staff say you were a beautiful woman. Yes,I was She said! banging her walking stick on the ground!
Then I realised: The staff did not know the broad details of her life and were learning it for the first time. I now recommend that end of life programs should ensure that families have a book of their loved one’s life. It broadens staff knowledge of the person they are caring for. It is also a visual aid for their patient or client. Remember one is more likely to lose recall skills and retain recognition for longer."