By Vanessa Hammond

This month we have several good pieces of news. But first I want to thank Pierre Dil who provided, for last month’s Beacon, an excellent summary of the challenges faced by anyone in Victoria trying to find a family physician and the steps the Victoria Health Co-op is taking to add to the roster of doctors at our Co-op Health Centre on Michigan Street. This information was well received and helped many people to understand the overall situation. 

And now this month’s new information.

You are invited to a Community Update 5 – 6.30 Nov 16. We are grateful to our lovely landlords, the James Bay Community Project, for the use of their Board Room for this event. You are invited if you are a member of the Victoria Health Co-op, a resident of James Bay, a patient at our Co-op Health Centre or a citizen interested in the issue of wellness, health care and medical services in our city.

We are preparing a proposal to the Vancouver Island Health Authority to have a Nurse Practitioner at the Co-op Health Centre (CHC). We, as a Board, are very aware of the outstanding work done in our CHC by Nurse Practitioners in the past. Many of you will have met our wonderful volunteers who have been asking James Bay residents about their interest in having a Nurse Practitioner at the CHC. The survey so far has indicated a very high level of interest in having this service restored. We hope that all our “NP survey volunteers” will be at the Community Update meeting to summarize the results of the survey. We can give them a rousing round of applause for their work.  Where would we be without volunteers? At the Community Update meeting you will have your opportunity to add your voice about having a Nurse Practitioner at our Co-op Health Centre.

We have very high hopes for another family physician to join the team at the CHC, possibly by the time of the meeting. We are encouraging all the docs to be at the meeting as some are relatively new and we would like you to have the opportunity to meet them.

In addition to these news items related to our own Health Co-op and its Co-op Health Centre, this is a month of Co-op news on a wider scale and we are part of that picture. Co-op Month celebrated around the world. Your Health Co-op was visible and audible at several events. The first was the International Summit of Co-ops, held every two years in Québec City with participation by 2,960 co-op leaders from around the world. As Chair of the Health Care Co-op Federation of Canada, I had the opportunity to moderate one of the sessions, speak at another and have really interesting discussions with a group of Mayors from Cameroun interested in seeing wellness co-ops set up in their communities. I had opportunities to visit co-ops in New Brunswick and Ontario that are new members of the Federation. In Charlottetown, we celebrated the 30 year anniversary of the Global Accord on Health Promotion, strategized well about how to shift the focus, and government expenditures, towards helping all of us to achieve and maintain wellness rather than focusing only, and expensively, on the treatment of symptoms of illness and injury. And we visited the main office of Veterans’ Affairs Canada to discuss how health co-ops can be of use to retired military personnel.

Finally, the Health Care Co-op Federation met in Ottawa for its AGM, Strategic planning session, Learning Exchange and training for Hans Kai Facilitators. This annual meeting with Health Co-ops from across Canada is always inspirational and the Victoria Health Co-op has been a leader since the establishment of the HCCFC in 2011. Check out the website

We welcome your input, ideas and questions.  Please call or email me with any questions or ideas.  I hope to see you on November 16 for our Community Update.  5pm.  Board Room, James Bay Community Project. 

Chair: Vanessa Hammond vichealthcoop@gmail.com 250.415.9272