Oceanside Health Centre services to come in phases
Services at the Oceanside Health Centre will be phased in over a three-month period ending Sept. 30, the Vancouver Island Health Authority announced Wednesday.
The centre (OHC) will open as scheduled on June 24, but its hours of operation will not be at the level promised, urgent medical care will not be available until Sept. 16 and primary care will not be on-stream until Sept. 30, according to VIHA's news release.
When the centre opens June 24 it will have imaging and labs services and a host of other VIHA programs currently operating in other buildings around the region. The centre's hours will mirror those of the existing facilities.
For example, Parksville X-ray is currently open at its Island Highway location Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. VIHA purchased Parksville X-ray last year and will move these services into the new health centre, but they will only be available Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. It’s unclear if or when these services will be available when the centre extends its hours Sept. 16 to what was originally promised, seven days a week from 7:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.
As for the staff at Parksville X-Ray, OCA’s executive director Sheila Cruikshank said Wednesday “they are being offered a job at the new medical centre but it is their choice.”
Cruikshank also said Wednesday VIHA has posted for a medical lead position, a part-time job for a physician.
“We’re hoping someone locally will want to fill that position and work with me to operate the health centre,” she said. Cruikshank added that VIHA met last week with members of the local Division of Family practice and talks will continue with that group of local physicians. “We have not done the best job at communicating with them,” Cruikshank conceded.
Services like the setting of fractures — urgent care — that will take some pressure off the Nanaimo hospital’s emergency room won’t be available at OHC until Sept. 16 and primary care physicians and nurse practitioners won’t be on-site until Sept. 30.
Late last month, VIHA said “cost pressures” have put the centre $1 million over budget. As for the timing of the opening and available services, VIHA’s news release on Wednesday stated the decision to phase in the opening of the OHC “is related to municipal requirements around additional rezoning and VIHA’s commitment to ensuring health-care providers are fully oriented and trained on the new approach to delivering care and able to deliver the best, most high quality care available.”
For a more detailed look at what services will be available at the OHC and when, got to: www.viha.ca/about_viha/building_for_health/oceanside.htm