I have been trying to follow the planning for the proposed emergency medical centre for the Oceanside region, which I would regard as the geographical location encompassing the area between Nanoose Bay and Qualicum Bay along the Strait of Georgia.
In order to familiarize myself with this proposal, I went on the internet to research VIHA and what the commitment of this organization is to Vancouver Island.
I was appalled to find that there is no listing under hospitals or residential care for either Parksville or Qualicum Beach.
There is however a listing under public health units for Parksville at 249 W Hirst Ave., but none for Qualicum Beach.
Checking further I found that Crofton has Lady Minto/Gulf Islands Hospital with 24/7 emergency care, 19 acute care beds and 1 Palliative care suite.
This may be a result of the mill’s contribution to the area as well as covering Salt Spring Island’s requirements although the Saanich Peninsula Hospital may be almost as accessible for that island.
It seems to me that we in this area should rate 24/7, physician or at least intern, emergency care and at least eight acute care beds. As it is, from the information I have been able to glean from the news media and VIHA themselves, we are not getting any more or better services than we have had since VIHA was formed in 2001.
I understand that the VIHA budget for 2012 is $1,800,000,000. In my opinion, in looking at that budget there must be enough money available to provide us with better services than we already have and this whole process should be put on hold until the planning includes services that mean something.
If doctors need offices I believe there are plenty of vacancies in both locations to accommodate them.
Richard A. Young