Expanded health care services are welcome

When the urgent care service in the new Oceanside Health Centre opened in June of 2013, there were many critics of the facility.

There were numerous letters published in our pages where folks felt that the $13 million would have been a good down payment for a full-fledged hospital, and they fully expected nothing less.

At the time it was stated by the Vancouver Island Health Authority, now Island Health, that the health centre would be a work in progress, and that if community requirements were to change then they would make adjustments to suit the needs of the residents.

At the time Michelle Stilwell, MLA for Parksville Qualicum, said: “With urgent care now being available locally, more patients will be able to get the care they need without having to travel to an emergency department in Nanaimo, Comox or Port Alberni.”

We don’t see how anyone could argue that facility has not met the needs of urgent care requirement in the past five years, and has saved countless numbers of trips to the Nanaimo Regional General Hospital.

Last week the Nanaimo & District Hospital Foundation announced it is launching a $1.8-million fundraising campaign in support of expanded cardiac care and services at NRGH and Oceanside Health Centre.

By the end of 2018, 8,700 patients will have received cardiac ultrasound care at both facilities.

During the last four years, the number of cardiac ultrasound exams has increased annually by 25% and is expected to exceed 10,000 by 2019. When other cardiac related exams are included with the ultrasounds, the total exams forecast for 2018 is more than 44,000.

The money raised will be used to purchase the latest medical equipment including two cardiac ultrasound machines that cost $138,000 each, and to fund infrastructure upgrades at both facilities, as well as the space they require to meet the growing demand.

Better facilities benefit patients and help health care staff do their jobs, and we like the idea that expanded services are on the way.

While there are a few parking challenges currently at the centre, it’s certainly easier to circle the parking lot a couple of times, then to head down the highway.

Residents in the Parksville Qualicum Beach area will no doubt welcome these new expanded services, here at home.

But much more remains to be done.

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