PENTICTON - A request by Interior Health to redirect hospital funding has regional district directors asking questions.
Interior Health wants the regional district to redirect $37,000 budgeted toward a pediatric patient room at Penticton Regional Hospital in order to provide a personal safety system for the hospital’s Inpatient Psychiatry Unit.
A staff report tabled at the Okanagan-Similkameen Regional Hospital board of directors meeting on Thursday, April 16, advised the health authority had asked for the reallocation as a result of an incident in December 2014 which prompted a WorkSafe B.C. order to install alarm systems in the hospital’s inpatient psychiatry unit. With little capital available to Interior Health to implement the $93,000 project, the decision was made to postpone the pediatric unit for one year.
Regional district chief administrative officer Bill Newell said Interior Health approaches the regional district on an annual basis with a list of capital projects they would like to implement in the regional district. He said the projects were decided on and were now part of the budget.
“They’ve had an emergent situation they want to address, they’re not asking for any more money, but they want to switch out a program,” he said, adding a budget amendment wouldn’t be necessary, but authorization would be needed.
Director Judy Sentes requested deferral on the matter. She said the hospital no longer had a pediatric ward and children entering the hospital faced the trauma of entering the emergency ward.
“Consider you are the parent of a child — the child is already in a traumatic scenario of having to go to the hospital, so it’s always been a concern to us, providing child care services in an emergency ward,” Sentes said. “I’m concerned this recommendation, which did not seek our input, just sends forward that we want to reallocate this money."
"I’m not insensitive what happened in the psychiatric ward. My concern is the need of the children is supporting this change, and I don’t think that’s fair."
Sentes asked for more information as to how the decision by Interior Health came about.
“Is there no other alternative to get that money?” she asked.
“I think it would be good for us generally to get a glimpse as to how these decisions are being made that we’re asked to approve from time to time, " Director Michael Brydon added.
The board agreed to defer a decision on the matter to the next board meeting on May 7.
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