Comox Valley patients not getting best health care

Dear editor,

The number of people waiting for orthopedic surgery at St. Joseph's is 620 — up from 388 a year ago.

Dear editor,

The number of people waiting for orthopedic surgery at St. Joseph’s is 620 — up from 388 a year ago; St. Joseph’s is not meeting hip and knee provincial replacement wait time targets.

You’ll wait three times longer for shoulder surgery here than if you lived somewhere in the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority.

While most other Health Authorities have managed to reduce the number of patients waiting for orthopedic surgeries, VIHA queues are getting longer.

These are only a few of the depressing statistics extracted from the Ministry of Health’s Surgical Patient Registry website.

Residents of the Valley are not being provided with the same level of service found elsewhere in the province or within VIHA.

This sorry state will only worsen as the population ages and more retirees move to the Valley.

Despite the pleas of many in the community, VIHA’s allocation of operating room time for orthopedics at St. Joseph’s remains fixed at three surgeons even though operating room resources are not fully utilized.

With the return of Dr. Sunby from overseas, his replacement Dr. Tim Bell and his family must pack their bags and leave the Valley because the VIHA allows for only three surgeons and he’s the fourth.

How shortsighted that such an energetic, competent and personable surgeon will be lost to our community!

How troubling that the situation is unlikely to change when the new hospital is opened! Why is it that VIHA cannot deliver services on a par with their mainland counterparts? Why are North Island residents being short-changed by VIHA ?

VIHA and SJGH administrators and political candidates should be called upon to provide answers.

It is with great sadness tinged with anger that I say goodbye to Dr. Bell. I wish you and your family the best and know that you’ll succeed wherever you land — it’s just such a huge pity that it won’t be here.

Jenny Steel,

Comox Valley

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