Health care equipment is expensive, very expensive. For this reason many hospitals have either an Auxiliary or a Health Centre Foundation (HCF) to help raise funds and keep those funds meant for the hospital in the community.
In Tumbler Ridge, our HCF was established in 1989 and is currently comprised of nine women. They are always looking for more members. It cost $2 annually to be a member of the group whose main objective is to raise money and purchase equipment needed by the health centre, not the doctor’s offices, as their practices are privately owned.
“Anything for medicine is big bucks,” says HCF treasurer Bev Fournier.
The HCF is crucial to keeping donations to the hospital in town and the criteria is simple: if people donate to Northern Health, the money goes to head office and the probability of it coming back to Tumbler Ridge is slim because of all the centres Northern Health is responsible for.
However, if people donate to the HCF the money is guaranteed to stay in-house and will be used when needed.
It is important for the HCF to have available funds because if a piece of equipment is required, the facility can’t solely depend on Northern Health to provide it because the process of getting the equipment could take a long time.
Through different fundraisers such as craft sales, raffles and also donations of all kinds, including in memory of those who have passed away, the HCF over the past nine years has been donated $141,432.03.
This may seem like lots and lots, and it is, but with health care equipment costing an arm and a leg, this money has to be used wisely.
Examples of what the foundation has purchased for the hospital include an electric bed, which cost $5,614, an ECG Machine costing $15,798.67, a stretcher for $5,180.60 and the list goes on and on and on.
As an emergency nurse and member of the HCF, Barb Schuerkamp is very pleased with the Health Centre here in Tumbler Ridge and says the level of equipment we have in emergency is really good for where we are located and the size of our town.
Much of this is due to the donations by community members, organizations, businesses churches, the high school and more.
Another way the HCF raises money is through selling jewelry (beautiful amber, native, turquoise earrings, pendants, rings and more), knit goods (donated by the Happy Hookers), trinkets, ornaments, and finally, art work supplied by Brad Platka from Vancouver Island.
Fournier says Platka’s prints as well as the other items for sale are very reasonably priced and all proceeds go back into the hospital. The items are all on display and can be purchased at the Health Centre.
The HCF is limited in terms of where they can ‘shop’ for new equipment.
The supplies purchased by the HCF has to be ordered through the main Northern Health station in Prince George so that if something needs to be repaired, the people sent out to do so are familiar with the product, and also to ensure proper hospital grade quality of equipment.
The Health Centre can’t just run out to Walmart to purchase a new wheelchair.
The wish list for the emergency department for 2013 includes a tablet for language translation, a portable otoscope/opthalmascope, a music system for the holding room, a galvo lift to assist with moving patients and a few other items. Northern Health will be supplying the Health Centre with a glydescope for intubation this year.
One of the biggest donations in HCF history happened in 2011, when the Canadian National Resources Ltd. (CNRL) golf tournament donated $27,552.65. This brought that year’s donation total to $59,320.51. What a great year for the Health Centre.
The group meets on the third Tuesday of each month at the Tumbler Ridge Health Centre. For more information contact President Maureen Sywolos at 250-242-4174.