North Island College continues to evolve and increasingly make itself an indispensable part of the fabric of life on the upper section of Vancouver Island.
NIC plans to offer specialized rural health care education that other B.C. colleges may not offer.
It’s the education version of an intriguing concept in health care suggesting that in a time of limited funding smaller hospitals should not pretend they can offer a wide array of specialized services.
Instead, one hospital could focus on cancer treatment for instance and another might concentrate on cardiology.
Hospital A (in the Comox Valley?) and Hospital B (Campbell River?) would both offer basic care, but would attract specialists and specialized equipment in certain fields.
Patients with certain afflictions might be able to receive treatment closer to home and the hospitals would become known for their specialties.
NIC president Dr. Jan Lindsay says the college wants to establish a Centre of Excellence for Rural Healthcare Education. Not a physical building, it would be a cluster of up-to-date programming.
NIC could focus on services tailored to the needs of people in the region, perhaps growing into its own physical space if the college chooses to build a laboratory, for example.
The idea has a lot of merit, particularly since the new Comox Valley hospital will apparently be built next to NIC’s main campus in Courtenay.
As Lindsay explains, rural health care programming would be developed with $2.75 million over a minimum 10-year period from the Vancouver Island Health Authority. NIC and VIHA recently signed the Health Education Partnership and Program Funding agreement.
NIC and VIHA have formed a joint committee to explore the promising concept, which could by a boon throughout the region for education and health care simultaneously.
And it would train health care professionals close to home.