The future of the Northern Health Strategy looks to be shaky.
During a meeting of health strategy members, stakeholders and government representatives at Nordale Hall on Monday, funding and goals were discussed.
“This is one of the things I’ve been trying to work out over the last few months. How do we maintain some sort of a health strategy energy as we move forward,” said Nap Gardiner, co-ordinator of NHS.
The organization works to addresses health issues for northern people. They have a special focus on health human resources, providing training in topics such as suicide prevention.
“It’s such a huge concern across the board anywhere and Northern Saskatchewan more so,” Gardiner said.
The priority as NHS moves forward is being placed on those health human resources, he said.
“The other parts of it will have to be figured out as we go because we’re not sure if there is any funding to enable us to move forward,” he said.
The strategy had humble beginnings.
“When we first started the NHS it was a bunch of people sitting around discussing what we needed to do,” Gardiner said.
Then there was some funding and then there was more as the group worked to integrate services between providers on the federal, provincial and First Nations levels.
“It’s always changing, (but) the main factor between all of that is a growing dialogue between people,” he said.
“People are concerned, people want to work towards solutions, if they are all facing the same ones, why do it yourself when we can do it together.”
This isn’t the first time that NHS has been in financial pinch, said Gardiner. In 2006 they had concerns for the future as well, so again he will fight to keep the programs continuing.
“Moving forward, it may not be the Northern Health Strategy of yesterday or last year, but I think there will be something,” he said.
Gardiner said that he won’t just leave.
If people want NHS to close they’ll have to put the lock on the door themselves, Gardiner said.
Funding for NHS has traditionally come from government. Gardiner said they are looking at member organizations, such as Prince Albert Grand Council and various health regions
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