SOUTH SURREY â€” Residents upset with the current health care system recently had their chance to tell it to those in a position to do something about it.
The venue? A public meeting of Fraser Health’s board of directors. Held at South Surreyâ€™s Pacific Inn, the meeting featured a question and answer period for residents to ask the board directly about key concerns.
With about 60 people in attendance, the first question asked was about hospital parking, noting there was â€œno parkingâ€ at Delta Hospital while it was â€œridiculousâ€ that ER patients had to pay at Surrey. Posing the question was a man named Harold, who also wanted to know what cut of the parking revenues the private companies in charge of the parking were keeping.
A Fraser Health rep on hand was unable to answer the manâ€™s question, but noted that the split of revenue coming from pay parking varies depending on which third-party parking operator they were speaking about.
Harold said he didnâ€™t buy the premise of the public meeting, saying, â€œThereâ€™s more staff here from Fraser Healthâ€¦and itâ€™s pretty obvious whatâ€™s going on. This is a smoke and mirrors show.â€
Board chair Karen Matty thanked the man and the rest of the public for coming out, noting that the meeting was held as a way for Fraser Health to connect with the public.
â€œWe do encourage people to come and we wish there were more of you,â€ said Matty.
Another audience member named Berle Matheson inquired about the possibility of creating a free shuttle service for senior patients between some of the regions hospitals and the new Jim Pattison Outpatient Centre.
Recalling a similar service between Vancouver General Hospital and its UBC division, Matheson said there were senior patients struggling to make it out to the Jim Pattison facility, due to it being somewhat difficult to get to.
White Rock Mayor Wayne Baldwin was also present, along with fellow council members Lynne Sinclair and Megan Knight. Baldwin took the meeting as an opportunity to implore Fraser Health for better communication between the health authority and municipalities, referring to a recent incident in White Rock where an individual seemingly attempted suicide by police officer.
According to Baldwin, officers received a report of an individual behaving erratically down by the cityâ€™s waterfront. When an officer approached the person, they drew a firearm and pointed it at the officer. Baldwin said the officer made the decision to disarm the individual rather than draw their own weapon and in doing so, found the firearm to be a replica.
â€œItâ€™s pretty obvious what the guy was trying to do was to commit suicide by being shot,â€ said Baldwin. â€œSo it just highlights the need for communication so our members are aware of these people and if possible, are apprehended and treated before they get to such a desperate stage where they try to commit suicide.
â€œThereâ€™s a need for communication so that our members are aware of these people.â€
Matty thanked Baldwin for attending and noted while Fraser Health does have mental health programs for patients, they are always looking for ways to improve.
Following the question and answer period, the directors then held a public board meeting, during which representatives from Peace Arch Hospital laid out an overview of their facilityâ€™s operations.
The meeting also marked the first public outing of former Surrey councillor and mayoral candidate Barinder Rasode as a member of Fraser Healthâ€™s board of directors.