Harrison continues push for local doctor

Mayor has requested Fraser Health provide primary care services

The Village of Harrison Hot Springs continues to discuss options for health care in the area after years of pushing for provincial aid.

While the Village once had a practicing doctor, all that remains now is an empty clinic. Harrion’s 1,400 permanent residents and approximately 600,000 annual visitors have to travel to Chilliwack, Hope or Mission for health care.

“From my perspective, I think Fraser Health should invest in this clinic that we have here,” mayor Leo Facio said. “Harrison’s concerns are not being addressed.”

Those concerns were outlined in a briefing note delivered to B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix in September.

“The need for primary health care in this community is more urgent than ever,” the Village wrote. “The Village has public land available and the opportunity exists for a public partnership development [which] could include a health care clinic in a multi-purpose public facility. We would like to work with the Ministry and Fraser Health to establish the delivery of health care services to our community.”

At the time of publication, Dix had not responded for comment on the matter.

Harrison resident Ann White said a recent allergic reaction drew her attention to the need for local care. Although White has a family physician in Chilliwack, her doctor’s office was closed over the holidays and after trying multiple walk-ins, White was out of options.

“I had a lot of pain and ended up at the emergency in Hope,” she said. “You really do need to have a place that you can go to quickly when you need to be seen.”

With 36 per cent of Harrison residents over 65-years-old, local health care options are even more important to the community.

Facio said some senior residents have moved out of Harrison and into Chilliwack to be closer to doctors.

“We are an official age-friendly community,” said Facio. “When people come to communities, the first thing they ask [is] ‘do you have medical services here?’ And it’s just the one in Agassiz and relying on the ambulance service.”

Facio said he’ll continue asking Fraser Health for primary health care services in the Village.

“I have been plugging away at this for many years,” he added. “I will be meeting again with the Minister [of Health] this year if I don’t get some progress on this, because I think we’re being left on the backburner.”

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