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West Shore foundation pushing playbook to fill shortge of doctors and health-care workers

The workshop brought medical professionals, government representatives together to brainstorm
Dave Saunders, former Colwood mayor and an advocate for increased long-term care solutions on the West Shore, is using the Saunders Family Foundation to lobby for a new approach to community health care. A recent workshop brought a wide range of government representatives and medical professionals together to help develop a playbook which communities will be able to use to guide doctor attraction and retention efforts. (Black Press Media file photo)

The Saunders Family Foundation is continuing its efforts to improve health care on the West Shore by producing a playbook of solutions communities can use to help attract and retain medical professionals.

On Jan. 26, the foundation held a All Hands on Deck Community Healthcare Workshop, where guest speakers outlined the lack of primary care doctors and long-term care beds on the rapidly growing West Shore. They said that indicated attraction and retention efforts targeted at health-care and emergency workers were not working.

“Tonight, we’re not pointing fingers. We’re focusing on solutions and local actions that we can take to support our hard-working health-care and emergency personnel,” said Mark Holland, of Westplan Consulting Group and host of the workshop in a news release.

Holland and Dave Saunders, president of the Saunders Family Foundation, have teamed up with Scott Bradford, executive director of Thrive, and with the support of the BC Ministry of Health to create the pilot project attraction and retention playbook.

Other participants in the workshop included nurses, doctors, government representatives, real estate developers and social services workers. Together, they were encouraged to develop ideas and write them down, with organizers promising every single idea would be reviewed and considered for the project.

“What we are proposing is not about privatizing health care. We are suggesting a strategy be developed to make B.C.’s public health-care system the best in Canada,” said Saunders. “We want to create a plan that will help West Shore communities, and eventually all B.C. communities, come together to create a supportive environment in which our health-care system and its employees can thrive.”

More information about the workshop, and the project as a whole, is available online at

READ MORE: West Shore team proposing real solutions to B.C.’s family doctor crisis

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