August 02, 2013 - 11:31 AM
PENTICTON - B.C.'s health minister said the province is committed to building a hospital expansion but not any time soon.
Health Minister Terry Lake told a reporter on Thursday's CBC Daybreak South he did not believe anyone committed to having a hospital built in Penticton in four years. At interview's end he did say the province is still committed to building though.
Lake's words raised eyebrows and Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen director Janice Perrino responded at Thursday's district meeting. She is also the executive director of the South Okanagan Similkameen Medical Foundation.
"I want to make it very clear that Minister Lake is very much in favour of working with us," she said. She reminded the regional district board Premier Christy Clark said Pentiction will get its new patient care tower which is valued at roughly $300 million.
She said on Friday some have reacted badly to the four-year comment. "It's much ado about nothing that's the way we see it." She added these things take a prescribed amount of time. "The procurement stage takes about a year, the construction will take up to five years. You are looking at seven years just from today if everything is agreed to."
Lake told the reporter the expansion will follow a 10-year planning cycle with each construction phase needing a business plan. He added this is how health care facilities are built. A facility can't be shut down to build improvements he said as it must be done in phases to reduce impact on patient care.
A doctor-led coalition has been pushing for a new expansion for years. Physicians have said the hospital is an aging, problem plagued building unable to properly handle the region's population.
To contact a reporter for this story, to send photos or videos, email Shannon Quesnel at email@example.com, call 250-488-3065 or tweet @shannonquesnel1
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013