EDITORIAL: Health-care credit

Vancouver Island Health Authority delivers on its promises regarding Oceanside Health Centre in Parksville

Here’s one from the credit-where-credit-is-due department.

For good reason, we were skeptical about VIHA’s pledges regarding the new Oceanside Health Centre. There seemed to be no co-operation or buy-in from local doctors. And then, when it opened in June, it was Oceanside Health Centre-lite, with hardly any of the promised services, but a parking lot full of cars driven by Vancouver Island Health Authority administration staff.

But it did open in June, as promised.

Next was the pledge urgent care would be provided starting Sept. 16, as in yesterday. Urgent care is now available. What’s more, it’s open to get your cut stitched or broken arm set 365 days a year, 15 hours a day.

Again, as promised.

We had even less hope for the primary care physician plan, which was scheduled to be part of the health centre on Sept. 30. This was the family physician program, an exciting prospect for the estimated 1,000-plus people in this region who do not have a doctor.

Word came last week a physician has been hired, and primary care — at least a level of it — will be available Sept. 30.

Again, as promised.

There are a host of issues we could raise, legitimate concerns. For example, exactly what happened to staff from Parksville X-Ray who were, ahem, offered positions when VIHA bought the business and closed it. What about the after-hours clinic in Parksville, now made redundant? It is owned by physicians — a business squashed by government? And what about all the vacant rental space in the region, eyesores whose owners are now without revenue from these properties?

We suppose if doctors, X-ray techs and landlords came forward to tell their stories, we would pass them along to our readers, but alas, they have not.

Therefore, today we salute VIHA for the work it has done to provide the services it promised. While some might still be clinging to the dream of having a hospital here, there’s no doubt healthcare delivery in our region is vastly improved by the services provided by the Oceanside Health Centre.

— Editorial by John Harding

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