Northern Health update

Northern Health is operating close to a break-even position early in the

2008-2009 fiscal year. At their meeting in Kitimat, NH Board members received a financial report showing a very small surplus of $171,000 for the first two months of the fiscal year. This health region?s annual operating budget is $589 million for the current fiscal.

?We expect the budget to remain tight this year,? said Charles Jago, chair of the Northern Health Board. ?Our financial staff will continue to review spending and search for efficiencies, and we will also look for other ways to enhance existing forms of revenue such as out of province and country billings.?

The NH Board received an update on ongoing work relating to cancer care and prevention efforts in the North. The major goals of the Northern Cancer Control Strategy include enhancing Northern Health?s Tobacco Reduction Program; improving detection and diagnosis (such as greater use of mammography and cervical screening); improving systemic therapy (chemotherapy), surgical oncology, and navigation services; and further developing telehealth opportunities to help reduce appointment travel time for health care professionals and patients.

?This is the first time that the board has received a comprehensive report on the Northern Cancer Control Strategy, outlining the growth and development of its various initiatives,? said Jago. ?The strategy, delivered in partnership with the BC Cancer Agency, has expanded into new areas of service with closer-to-home treatment options now available to many Northern BC residents.

?This progress update has provided us with baseline measurements against which we can monitor future growth of services and related projects.?

The NH Board will forward a recommendation to the Ministry of Health Services that the new Masset replacement health facility be named the ?Northern Haida Gwaii Hospital and Health Centre?. This name recommendation was brought forward in consultation with various community representatives who provided their input for consideration.

The Northern Health Board also received several presentations from local area groups, including the Nisga?a Health Council, the District of Kitimat, the Terraceview Family Council, Kitimat physician representatives, and the Kitimat Health Advocacy Group.

The next NH Board meeting will take place in September in Dawson Creek