People speak up for 24-hour health service in Parksville

A rally outside of Parkville-Qualicum MLA Ron Cantelon's office Friday attracted people who want a new clinic to include more services.

Protestors gathered in front of Parksville-Qualicum MLA Ron Cantelon's office Friday morning to speak loudly for more health care options.

Organizers were pleased with the turn out at a rally calling for more services to be included in the health centre currently being built in Parksville.

Rick Sullivan of the Oceanside Coalition for Strong Communities, which organized the event in front of Parksville-Qualicum MLA Ron Cantelon’s office, had said they’d be happy with 30 people and they got at least three times that.

Cantelon attended the unstructured rally and fielded questions randomly yelled from the crowd, though in some cases he stumbled and admitted so, such as his response to the question ‘why does Comox have two hospitals when we aren’t getting one?’

“They don’t have a hospital yet, so we’re ahead of them,” he said, but quickly took it back. Comox is home to St. Joseph’s Hospital. There are also plans for a new hospital between Courtenay and Campbell River.

The main thrust of the crowd was that they want all the services recommended in a 2001 report on the need for a facility, including care 24 hours a day, seven days a week and overnight beds.

“24/7, 24/7!” the crowd started chanting at one point.

“I think I heard you want 24/7,” Cantelon said when it died down, “15/7 is a good start with multi-disciplinary care …”

He was then drowned out by the crowd yelling that that wasn’t enough.

There were also questions and accusations about the lack of public and doctor involvement in the process to date.

Cantelon countered that the government accepted a 6,000 person petition calling for the facility and they have worked with the Federation of Oceanside Resident Associations, which represents 30,000 through rate payer groups.

He said there have been meetings with doctors recently that he didn’t have any details on.

Check Tuesday’s edition of The News for the complete story.

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