Building permit sought for clinic

Move called another step forward

VIHA CEO Harold Waldner (second from left) says it would be ridiculous to have a secondary emergency room in Oceanside.

VIHA CEO Harold Waldner (second from left) says it would be ridiculous to have a secondary emergency room in Oceanside.

“It would be absolutely ridiculous to have an emergency room in Oceanside,” according to Vancouver Island Health Authority President and CEO Harold Waldner at Wednesday’s board meeting in Parksville.

It was in response to questions of why the proposed Oceanside Health Centre will not include one.

Waldner explained that if you are experiencing a serious medical emergency like a stroke or heart attack the last thing you’d want would be to stop at a smaller emergency room 20 minutes from the main regional hospital where they have all the expensive equipment and specialists to help you.

The main message from the board meeting in Oceanside was that the urgent and primary health care centre is well on its way and taking very concrete steps with a proposed opening at the end of 2012.

This week the proponent made the application to the City of Parksville to subdivide the site to build the estimated 30,000 to 50,000 sq.ft. building for $8 to $15 million.

During a long question period during the meeting the public grilled Waldner and the board about what new services will be offered and as MLA Scott Fraser asked, where the profit will come from to pay the for-profit proponent to build the building at their own cost.

The question of profit wasn’t directly addressed but VIHA medical director Dr. Richard Crowe said, on top of the concentration of integrated services, the centre will offer IV antibiotic therapy and extensive regular hours with more access than the city’s existing walk-in clinic.

Waldner also explained it will feature a state of the art health record system allowing all the medical professionals in the building access to much more detailed and useful information about patients.

While most of the questions and comments from the audience of well over 100 were skeptical about the value of what the community will get in the new centre, some offered support.

Parksville-Qualicum MLA Ron Cantelon called it “a significant step forward for this much anticipated project for our community.” 

“The integrated range of health care services and increased service hours the new facility will offer will provide state-of-the-art health care to local residents, close to home.”

Tom Davies of the Federation of Oceanside Residents Associations repeated his message that this is the best we can get right now and it is a “significant addition. What have we got now?” he asked rhetorically, adding that their group, which represents 20,000 people, will not stop pushing for more.