EDITORIAL: Access denied?

VIHA had about two years to think about proper access to the new health facility in Parksville and they didn't do the job properly

Even when they are seemingly doing some good, government-run departments can’t  get out of their own way.

Months before the opening of the Oceanside Health Centre, we asked politicians and others how people in this, the region with the oldest population in Canada, were going to get to and from the OHC.

There was talk about a bus looping from Qualicum Beach to Parksville in a figure eight that has at its centre the OHC. Good idea. Still hasn’t happened.

What’s worse, as our readers can learn from Suzan Jennings’ story presented in these pages today, the actual nuts and bolts of riding the current bus system to the OHC are a nightmare and quite possibly a risk to life and limb.

We applaud Jennings for telling her story, for it may save someone from serious injury.

The facilities and equipment at the OHC are top-notch. The technology is state-of-the-art. The facility is a great addition to the region. And as long as you are driving a car, access is no problem.

How, after years of planning and construction, no one thought of how difficult it is to actually get to the front doors of the centre, is inexcusable. MLA Michelle Stilwell tells us things are in the works to improve this access but, seriously, the location of the OHC has been known to VIHA for a couple of years.

Frankly, it’s an example of the government mindset. You can bet private sector people would not build a store or service without ensuring people can easily get inside their facilities. What’s the point of having a store if you are making it difficult for people to access your goods and services?

But we are not talking here about buying a couch, TV or head of lettuce. We are talking about health care. And we are talking about a facility that has forced the closure of other facilities to bring services under one roof.

How could VIHA totally overlook these access issues? We’re willing to wager VIHA officials have no problem getting to their offices in the OHC. The people in wheelchairs or the elderly and others who have to take public transit to the OHC? Not so much.

Let’s hope no one gets hurt before the alterations are made, especially in light of the fact there are no urgent care physicians on site until Sept. 16.

— Editorial by John Harding

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