COAST SALISH TERRITORY (Nanaimo) - A renewed commitment to improve the health and wellness outcomes of all First Nations people living in the Island Health region was made between the First Nations Health Authority, Island Health and the Vancouver Island Regional Caucus representing the 50 Nations on Vancouver Island through the signing of the renewed Vancouver Island Partnership Accord.
A signing ceremony was held in Nanaimo on April 28 and was witnessed by Chiefs, Elders and community members from Nations across the Island.
“The partnerships between FNHA and our regional health authorities are crucial to ensuring key decision-makers in each organization are able to meet and make the timely, important decisions related to improving First Nation's peoples' health", said Richard Jock, CEO of FNHA. “The Partnership Accord is a foundational piece that leaders in FNHA and Island Health can use to build stronger relationships between their operational teams, and more efficiently implement priorities set out by the Regional Caucus. A strong partnership with our regional health authority enables us to tackle these issues together in true reconciliation."
First signed in 2012 and updated in 2016, the latest 2022 update to the Accord reflects the ongoing growth, evolution and strengthening of the partnerships and directs the development of joint work plans to support the implementation of their shared priorities.
“Island Health is committed to working with our partners to improve the health outcomes of First Nations people on Vancouver Island by ensuring that we have accessible and culturally-safe health services across our region", said Kathy MacNeil, CEO of Island Health. “This latest refresh of the Accord allows us to get clarity on what really matters, address concerns for care, and look at innovative, creative and supportive ways to better serve our First Nations population."
The Accord speaks to reciprocal accountability that emphasizes collaboration and collective action as a way of accelerating improvement to First Nations health and wellness.
“To me and my family, the refresh of the Accord will indicate our continual commitment towards strengthening our relationship to provide a better health care system for all", said TELAXTEN, FNHC representative for South Island, Coast Salish, Vancouver Island Region. “We have been entrusted to move forward in the best way possible."
Each of the organizations signing the 2022 Accord will be accountable for contributing to a joint work plan, providing appropriate levels of support for its implementation, and monitoring and reporting on progress each year.
In signing the 2022 Vancouver Island Partnership Accord, the partners have committed to improving the health and wellness services accessed by Vancouver Island First Nations, and will work within their part of the health system to support the work under the Accord.
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About Island Health:
Island Health provides health care and support services to more than 860,000 people on Vancouver Island, the islands in the Salish Sea and the Johnstone Strait, and mainland communities north of Powell River. With more than 27,000 staff and over 2,900 physician partners, 1,000 volunteers, and the dedicated support of foundations and auxiliaries, Island Health delivers a broad range of health services, including: public health services, primary health care, home and community care, mental health and addictions services, acute care in hospitals, and much more across a huge, geographically diverse region.
About First Nations Health Authority:
The FNHA is the health and wellness partner to over 200 diverse First Nations communities and citizens across BC. In 2013, the FNHA began a new era in BC First Nations health governance and health care delivery by taking responsibility for the programs and services formerly delivered by Health Canada. Since then the FNHA has been working to address service gaps through new partnerships, closer collaboration, health systems innovation, reform and redesign of health programs and services for individuals, families, communities and Nations.
The FNHA is also a champion of culturally safe practices throughout the broader health care system. Taking a leadership role, the FNHA actively works with its health partners to embed cultural safety and humility into health service delivery and improve health outcomes for First Nations people.
About Vancouver Island Regional Caucus:
The Vancouver Island Region consists of 50 First Nation communities where each community elects their own First Nations Chief based on their own selection process. The Region is centered by the ancestral teaching of respect as a guiding principle in order to ensure that the work carried out adheres to traditional knowledge, continues to guide all efforts, and sets a high standard for the future transformation of health services to communities.
In order to coordinate and oversee health developments in the region, Vancouver Island First Nations formed the Vancouver Island Regional Caucus, which provides a forum for the political and technical leads from the region's First Nations to gather, collaborate and share information. Early in our history, the Caucus directed the appointed leaders to enter into an Accord with Vancouver Island Health Authority in order to establish a collaborative working relationship.
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