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Lloydminster is home to a growing support network for families with young children that offers important early childhood development information and resources to parents, educators, and other caregivers. Prairie North Health Region is a vital partner in this network, said Sherri Husch Foote, Executive Director of Midwest Family Connections, speaking at the Prairie North Regional Health Authority monthly meeting on March 28.
“Supporting healthy early childhood development is a community issue, and Prairie North Health Region has a part in it,” said Ms. Husch Foote who was speaking to the Authority's Board of Directors on behalf of Lloydminster's Early Child Development Community Coalition. Other coalition members in attendance were Lois Hardy from the Lloydminster Public School Division, Heather McKee of Alberta Human Services, and Brooke Smith, a public health nurse with Prairie North.
Ms. Husch Foote and Ms. Hardy presented the Lloydminster findings from Alberta's Early Childhood Developing Mapping Initiative, research being led by Alberta Education. The research shows that while the majority of Lloydminster's children are developing appropriately, nearly 30 per cent of kindergarten-aged children are experiencing difficulty or great difficulty in specific development areas. This highlights the need for continued, concentrated supports to be offered universally to Lloydminster families, educators, and caregivers.
Next steps for the Early Child Development Community Coalition include sharing the results of the mapping initiative more widely and increasing knowledge of early childhood development in order to debunk myths and misinformation, while mobilizing community resources. The group will host a Community Conversation Café on May 28th at 7 pm at the Legacy Centre and a community conference led by Dr. Jean Clinton of McMaster University in November 2012. Prairie North CEO David Fan reiterated the Health Region's support for the coalition's work, recognizing the need for the health system to work with other child care providers in a more integrated way.
Other items discussed at the Board meeting fell under the Region's Better Value and Better Team strategic goals:
Mr. Fan discussed the Government of Saskatchewan's 2012/13 provincial health budget with the Board, noting the 4.2 per cent increase in base funding is less than what is typically required to continue operating ‘business as usual'. “This is going to be a fiscally challenging year,” Mr. Fan said.
Compensation for staff and physicians in Prairie North will increase by nearly $10 million in the coming year, which is accounted for in the base funding increase. However, Prairie North is being asked to find nearly $2.7 million in improved sick time and overtime management, shared services, and overall general system efficiencies.
Mr. Fan highlighted two particular “bright spots” in the budget announcement: continued financial support for the Saskatchewan Surgical Initiative and specific funding for innovative Primary Health Care sites. The Region anticipates hearing more about whether it will receive further targeted funding under each of those initiatives soon.
Dr. Bruce Murray, Senior Medical Officer, asked the Board to approve the reappointment of more than 140 physicians to the Region's practitioner staff roster. The physicians' files are complete with all required credentialing documentation.
Upcoming public meetings:
- April 25: North Battleford, Battlefords Union Hospital
- May 30: Meadow Lake, Northwest Health Facility
- June 27: North Battleford, Battlefords Union Hospital
- August 29: Lloydminster, Lloydminster Hospital
Minutes from previous Board meetings can be found here.
For more information or to arrange interviews, contact:
Prairie North Health Region
Prairie North Health Region operates under the four broad strategic goals of providing better care, better health, better team, and better value, all in support of our vision of Healthy People. Healthy Communities.