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Health

B.C. mayor seeks change after report of infant’s death while waiting for ambulance

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BARRIÈRE, B.C. — The mayor of a small community in British Columbia’s southern Interior is calling for flexibility around which first responders are allowed to take patients to hospital after an infant reportedly died while waiting for an ambulance.
Mayor Ward Stamer said his community of Barriere, B.C., has a first responders’ society with a vehicle that can respond when the BC Ambulance Service can’t, but they’re not allowed to transport patients to hospital.

He said that has to change as the community grapples with gaps in service that mean first responders might not be available when someone calls 911.

In an interview on Monday, the mayor said he hadn’t been told how long it took paramedics to respond to the call about the infant last Thursday.

He could not provide details of what happened, saying only that there had been a “critical care incident” involving a young child who died.

Stamer said all he knows is based on whatTroy Clifford, the president of Ambulance Paramedics of BC had told media — that there had been a fully staffed vehicle in Barriere, but it was diverted south to help in Kamloops.

There’s normally one ambulance in Barriere and two in Clearwater, about 60 kilometres north, but they’re shared throughout the region, Stamer said.

“From what I understand, there was only one car for all of Kamloops on that Thursday night, and that is why ours was taken from us,” he said.

The service does not tell the local government when the ambulance that’s based in Barriere is being diverted elsewhere until afterwards, he said.

Clifford had spoken to media over the weekend about the death of an infant, but said Monday that requests for details about response times and matters related to coverage across communities were being referred to BC Emergency Health Services.

It’s “heartbreaking to hear reports that an ambulance and paramedics were not immediately available in someone’s time of need,” he said in a statement.

Clifford said his organization would continue to address a “provincewide staffing crisis,” adding it’s leaving communities like Barriere without appropriate ambulance coverage for long periods of time.

“This is easily one of the worst situations anyone can imagine,” he said, referring to the child’s death.

BC Emergency Health Services said it’s reviewing the circumstances of the “heartbreaking loss.”

The agency said it received a call to respond to a patient at a home in Barriere on Thursday.

It said the closest available ambulance was immediately dispatched, while local firefighters were also called to assist with the call.

The agency did not confirm the patient’s age or cause of death, but said it has opened a review into the call and it will work with the patient care quality office to reach out to the family and address any questions or concerns.

The statement from BC Emergency Health Services said its “deepest condolences go out to the family and the community.”

Stamer described a situation about two weeks ago, when a woman in Barriere had a stroke when the ambulance service wasn’t immediately available. The woman’s daughter was pulled over by the RCMP for speeding while taking her mother to hospital in Kamloops, about 66 kilometres away, and the Mounties ended up escorting them, he said.

“We’ve all got stories like that,” he said of rural communities across B.C.

Stamer said there’s a “higher level of anxiety” in Barriere as residents don’t know what level of ambulance service might be available on a given day.

“Should we be getting our residents prepared, like an evacuation alert, so you’ve got a full tank of gas so you can throw somebody in the pickup and take them to town? That’s kind of where we’re at sometimes,” he said.

Stamer said he and other mayors from communities in B.C.’s Interior are talking about coming together at the Union of B.C. Municipalities meeting next month to try to catch the ears of provincial authorities.

“We’re not trying to point fingers here and we’re not blaming anybody,” he said. “We just want to be able to sit down and see if we can have a constructive meeting, to see if we can come up to some short-term solutions to the problems that we’re all facing in these communities.”

— By Brenna Owen in Vancouver

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 29, 2022.

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Health

Premiers to hold virtual news conference

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Premiers (back row L-R), Sandy Silver (Yukon), P.J. Akeeagok, (Nunavut), Scott Moe (SK), Doug Ford (Ont),Francois Legault (Que), Dennis King (PEI), Tim Houston (NS), Blaine Higgs (NB), Andrew Furey (NL and Labrador) and (front row L-R), President of Institute for the advancement of Aboriginal Women Lisa Weber, National Chief of Congress of Aboriginal Peoples Elmer St. Pierre, Heather Stefanson (MB), Songhees Nation Chief Ron Sam, John Horgan (BC), Esquimalt Nation Chief Rob Thomas, Caroline Cochrane (NWT), Cassidy Caron (Metis National Council) and Terry Teegee (Assembly of First Nations) gather for a family photo during the summer meeting of the Canada’s Premiers at the Songhees Wellness Centre in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, July 11, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito

Canada’s premiers plan to meet virtually today, a month after talks with the federal government on health-care funding ended without an agreement.

The premiers have been calling on Ottawa to increase its share of health-care costs to 35 per cent, up from 22 per cent, and keep this level of funding going forward.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s office says they are meeting to discuss health-care funding.

Last month, the federal government withdrew from a joint communique on health funding with provincial and territorial health ministers at a meeting in Vancouver.

Federal Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos said at the time that he went to the meetings “in good faith” but blamed premiers for giving their ministers “marching orders” to force negotiations to end with no deal after the premiers released a statement he says depicted the talks as a failure.

British Columbia Health Minister Adrian Dix had said provincial and territorial health ministers were united behind the request for increased funding made by the premiers.

At a separate news conference, Duclos would not say whether he came to the table with more money, adding only that premiers did not want health ministers to accept any conditions, like providing data on the health-care workforce.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 9, 2022.

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COVID-19

WHO member states agree to develop legally-binding pandemic treaty

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Article submitted by The Counter Signal

By MIKE CAMPBELL

The World Health Organization (WHO) announced that member states inched closer to developing a legally binding global pandemic treaty.

WHO member states agree to develop legally-binding pandemic treaty.

“I welcome the agreement by @WHO Member States to develop a zero draft of a legally binding #PandemicAccord designed to protect the world from future pandemics and to continue discussions on the draft in February 2023,” said WHO CEO Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

The development follows a third meeting from WHO member states to develop a global pandemic treaty. The first meeting was in December 2021, and the second was in March 2022.

It’s unclear how the WHO’s pandemic treaty will affect its 194 member states, including Canada.

The WHO states the global pandemic treaty will determine future pandemic requirements for individual countries, such as lockdowns, and that these requirements will be “legally binding.”

The WHO says the treaty will be a “legal instrument, rooted in the WHO Constitution, designed to protect the world from future pandemics.”

Article 21 of the WHO’s constitution states the WHO has “authority to adopt regulations concerning (a) sanitary and quarantine requirements and other procedures designed to prevent the international spread of disease.”

“Other procedures” presumably include global vaccine passports, which member states have already supported.

However, the WHO also claims the pandemic treaty will “respect sovereignty.”

The draft that resulted from this third meeting includes a provision that reads:

“States have, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations and the principles of international law, the sovereign right to determine and manage their approach to public health, notably pandemic prevention, preparedness, response and recovery of health systems pursuant to their own policies and legislation provided that activities within their jurisdiction or control do not cause damage to other States and their peoples.”

Conservative MP Leslyn Lewis has been outspoken regarding the potential impact a global pandemic treaty could have on Canadians.

In April, she said the treaty would allow the WHO to determine what a pandemic is and when one is occurring — even over something non-viral like an obesity crisis.

Earlier this year, the WHO and the German health minister said that countries disobeying regulations dictated by the WHO through their pandemic treaty might need to be sanctioned.

The Counter Signal contacted the WHO for comment but did not receive a response by publication.

Sign Our Petition Against The Treaty HERE

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