LETTER: Island Health – a public accountability question

Public forum craftily staged to avoid concerns presented

Dear editor,

The gap was staggering, between the serious nature of the issues presented by community representatives and the response provided by the Island Health Board at its March 29 public forum in Courtenay.

Island Health staged the forum in a way that avoided any need to directly address the specific concerns presented. Despite advance knowledge of the points of view for the five presentations they selected, no meaningful response was made in the moment. Answers to advance questions from the public were provided in a written handout but were unclear and confusing. Communications specialists consider the room set-up ’confrontational’ in that it made the presenters accountable to the public in attendance while the board sat on the side as the public’s observers. It’s disrespectful to ask people to do something and then ignore their efforts and point of view. Respect is a principle under the BC Taxpayer Accountability Principles, June 2014.

There was no acknowledgment of issues like the need for more home care support services (except an oblique reference to working on it), the inequity of the current residential care bed allocation, and the immediate need for more residential care beds than planned. It was not clear that stories about people’s experience at the new Comox Valley Hospital and its state of cleanliness were heard by the board and management. The reaction was defensive; I would have expected to hear an acknowledgment that there are problems and the executive is working with local management to resolve them and committed to updating you on our progress.

Words on a website and declarations that “we do all those things” state intentions, but actions speak louder than words. If they do not match, then public accountability claims ring hollow.

Stephen D. Shepherdson,


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

North Island College launches virtual orientation

New and returning North Island College students are being welcomed to the… Continue reading

Comox Valley artist expands horizons through North Island College’s DIGITAL Design department

Submitted by NIC North Island College alumna Marlee Pestell is breaking into… Continue reading

85-year-old Comox sprinter competes in worldwide virtual track meet

Toronto was slated to be the host city for the 2020 World… Continue reading

B.C. records 146 new COVID-19 cases through long weekend

More that 28 people tested positive for the virus each day since Friday

COVID-19 vaccine efforts provide hope but no silver bullet to stop pandemic: Tam

There are more than two dozen vaccines for COVID-19 in clinical trials around the world

Two people die in propane heated outdoor shower near Princeton

Couple was attending a long weekend gathering

Study shines light on what makes LGBTQ+ youth feel safe in a community

The study goes beyond looking at school or family supports

Alberta to require masks at schools this fall, but still no mandate in B.C.

B.C. students are also set to return to classrooms in September

B.C. to allow customers to buy cannabis online for in-store pickup at private shops

Age verification will still be required inside the store

30% of British Columbians would ‘wait and see’ before taking COVID vaccine: poll

Some are concerned about side effects, while others don’t think the virus is a big deal

What exactly is ‘old growth’ B.C. forest, and how much is protected?

Forests minister Doug Donaldson doesn’t support ‘moratorium’

Don’t leave your hand sanitizer in the sun and other tips to stay COVID safe this summer

Being mindful of staying outside and keeping hand sanitizer, sunscreen out of the sun recommended

Most Read