NCMA EXECUTIVE PLEASED WITH EFFORTS TO REDUCE COST OF TRANSPORTATION FOR RURAL RESIDENTS NEEDING MEDICAL CARE

PRINCE GEORGE – Northern local government leaders applaud the Provincial Government?s latest move to help address travel costs for those needing medical services outside their community. The Ministry of Health Services has announced a $6 million investment to regional health authorities that will help address the growing concern of those who have to travel to larger centres for medical treatment. Northern Health is one of the regions that will benefit from the announcement.

?We have been voicing the concern for quite some time and we?re glad the government listened and responded,? said NCMA President Mary Sjostrom. ?We look forward to working with officials from Northern Health to develop innovative strategies that will reduce the financial burden on our rural residents who have to travel for medical attention.?

The NCMA hosted a session with Northern Heath officials earlier this year and raised the issue with the Health Minister advising that assistance with travel costs was a priority for northern residents.

The assistance program may involve offering rural residents enhanced or discounted transportation and/or preferred accommodation rates. Air carriers will also be approached to seek preferred rates for passengers who are evacuated by air ambulance to return home once their condition has been stabilized. An example of an innovative community-based approach is the Houston/Terrace shuttle service that serves rural residents in the Northwest.

The NCMA represents communities from 100 Mile House North and will hold its AGM in Terrace May 4 – 7, 2005. The annual convention will mark the 50th Anniversary of the organization.