Premier's new health centre promise not very promising

Dr. David Paisley speaks to Pauline Brunton at his office. Paisley has been critical of Premier Christy Clark's government in not coming through on a plan to improve Penticton Regional Hospital.

By Shannon Quesnel

Premier Christy Clark was praised and criticized by a Penticton doctor following her hospital visit on Friday.

Dr. David Paisley appears skeptical during an interview at his office on Monday. The doctor printed off a letter he wrote to the premier after her visit to Penticton Regional Hospital. In it he thanked her for the visit but then attacked her unacceptable lack of commitment to the patient care tower.

After Clark made her surprise appearance, Paisley and other physicians continued to hope the province will come through with its share of a proposed $300-million patient care tower.

If there is no money the community's doctors will go to plan B, says Paisley and arrange meetings with provincial officials. All will be revealed tomorrow when the provincial budget is released.

During the premier's hospital visit, she was shown the working conditions and it seemed she understood the difficulties says Paisley, who heads up an effort to get a new patient care tower in Penticton.

“She came in doing her premier thing, and someone said, 'Oh, you're here to get us our new hospital'. I think she got the message from us and from the public that it is needed.”

Last week, nearly 800 people showed their support for Penticton's doctors at a town-hall style meeting at the Penticton convention centre.

Clark said her government will knock down the barriers to review the business plan for the new health centre.

She was also quoted saying the project will move forward “based on need and not politics.”

He explains the words of the premier have been the same words repeated by the province for months.

“We were hoping to get a firm commitment, but we were told it would be looked at which is what we've been told all along.”

His letter to her points out how Kamloops' hospital parking lot and Vernon's extra in-patient beds leap-frogged ahead of Penticton's patient care tower.

“This is obviously political and not about providing... patient care,” wrote Paisley.

The premier pointed out the province needs to review the hospital's business plans. Paisley has said Vernon's and Kamloops' projects were approved by the BC treasury board without business plans in place.

If the doctors get their wish, the new $300-million health centre will be a one-stop-shop for patients and provide more space for state-of-the-art medical equipment.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Shannon Quesnel at squesnel@infotelnews.ca, call 250-488-3065 or send a Tweet to @shannonquesnel1


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