January 03, 2014 - 8:24 AM
PENTICTON - The fight to improve Penticton Regional Hospital might not be as visible at it was in February when doctors staged a street protest but it doesn't mean the need has gone away.
Dr. David Paisley and the Penticton Medical Staff Society took their concerns of no-room and outdated infrastructure, which force some exams to be done in hallways, before a crowd of 800 residents at the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre early this year. They proposed a $300-million patient care tower which can be added to the existing hospital. It would have modern medical equipment, more room for examinations, more beds and reduced wait-times.
Paisley and Dr. Brad Raison, Dr. Sarah Lynn Broder and many other staff then walked out onto Government Street for a public protest in March. The doctors told the crowds lower priority communities managed to get medical funding ahead of Penticton.
Despite terrible weather hundreds came or drove by waving and honking from their cars. Patient Bill Lee was one of the supporters.
"They cut down hospitals in Summerland, Oliver and Princeton and we are getting influx from there," Lee said. "The hospital can't handle it."
"We are functioning in a hospital that was built in 1951 for a population of 10,000," Broder explained and there are now 90,000 people coming through the center's doors.
Premier Christy Clark, in one of several Penticton appearances, arrived at the hospital later that March during the provincial election, to promise progress. When she was asked if committing to a plan is committing to build she said yes.
She asked for a business case to be submitted to the province. Some doctors said the case has been made for a new health centre in the past. Every time the premier visited she was asked about what stage the hospital project was at with the provincial government.
The South Okanagan Similkameen Medical Foundation along with hospital stakeholders were ready with $500,000 to pay for the business case but when all the numbers were added it will cost $700,000.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014