North Island needs regional hospital, concurs former chair of Comox facility

Dear editor,

Dr. Simice is right; we must have a regional hospital!

Dear editor,

Dr. Simice is right; we must have a regional hospital!

I well remember the promises made by several ministers of health of differing political  stripes:

“We are looking at a system to correct the inequities in Healthcare on the Central and North Island.”

After consultation with other provinces they gave us regionalization … “health-care decisions were to be made closer to home;” but that would be difficult for government.

Can you imagine, a regional health board that could make decisions in the region for the region and have access to the ministry? We wasted several years forming regional boards, attending meetings, even getting to the point of hiring board managers and acquiring meeting spaces in Comox and Campbell River, just to have the whole project stopped by ministerial order.

Next we were introduced to VIHA, the government’s “firewall” in health care. This extra level of bureaucracy, inflicted upon us by successive governments, has allowed the provincial government and its Ministry of Health to abrogate their responsibilities.

They have accomplished this by insulating themselves from decision-making and criticism from the people who pay their salaries and are the end users of the health-care system … the taxpayers!

Allowing this firewall to take control of all decisions in which the government should have the final say is incongruous to say the least!

Their scheme seems to have been “divide and conquer the North Island.”  Pit the Comox Valley and Campbell River against each other, then make a Solomonic decision: “Two hospitals are better than one!”

We should all know what this decision will accomplish.

Fewer beds, less operating room time, fewer surgeons, fewer ICU/CCU beds, a reduced  number of ALC beds (exacerbating the now-familiar ‘bed gridlock’) … that is what VIHA’s bit of trickery will bring to the North Island.

In the old days, dealing with the Ministry of Health wasn’t always easy but it  was a “walk in the park” compared to dealing with this bureaucratic firewall.

When are we going to have a government that has the intestinal fortitude to give VIHA some guidance since they are not able to make the right decision for the region? The right decision has been put forward several times, once even by VIHA.

One real regional hospital to serve the North Island with two satellite facilities to serve their respective communities.

We the taxpayers have what I would describe as a fleeting opportunity to turn this bad decision around.

Call our MLA, write to the Ministry of Health, let your voice be heard!

Jim Landry

Editor’s note: Jim Landry is a former chair of St. Joseph’s General Hospital.

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

Just Posted

The CSRHD board moved closer to passing a budget with a $4.4 million cut to the tax requisition. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Comox Starthcona hospital district moves on budget with tax cut

At $12.6 million, budget requisition represents drop of $4.4 million for current year

Courtenay councillor Will Cole-Hamilton, standing at right, sits on steering committees of two organizations that are tackling the problem of greenhouse gas emissions. File photo
Courtenay councillor leads campaign to reduce building-sector GHG emissions

Courtenay councillor Will Cole-Hamilton wants local governments to carry a little more… Continue reading

A rendering shows the entrance planned for the Hornby Island Arts Centre. Image supplied
Numerous Comox Valley projects get CERIP grants

Numerous Comox Valley projects have received grants through the Community Economic Recovery… Continue reading

Thrifty Foods. (Black Press file photo)
Thrifty Foods confirms staff member tests positive for COVID-19 in Courtenay

The company currently lists 12 stores within B.C. with confirmed cases

Comox Valley Schools’ distance learning program, Navigate (NIDES), which saw some large gains in enrolment this year, could see a return to normal numbers come September. Image, screenshot
Comox Valley Schools expects enrolment drop come fall

Decline projected online, as more students return to ‘bricks-and-mortar’ classes

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
B.C. reports 10 additional deaths, 395 new COVID-19 cases

The majority of new coronavirus infections were in the Fraser Health region

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools is preparing a rapid response team proposal for submission to the B.C. Ministry of Education. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Nanaimo-Ladysmith school district chosen as COVID-19 rapid response team

Team to consist of SD68 and Island Health staff, according to B.C. Ministry of Education

A new survey has found that virtual visits are British Columbian’s preferred way to see the doctor amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Unsplash)
Majority of British Columbians now prefer routine virtual doctor’s visits: study

More than 82% feel virtual health options reduce wait times, 64% think they lead to better health

Carolyn Howe, a kindergarten teacher and vice president of the Greater Victoria Teachers’ Association, says educators are feeling the strain of the COVID-19 pandemic and the influx of pressure that comes with it. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
Stress leave, tears and insomnia: Island teachers feel the strain of COVID-19

Teachers still adjusting to mask and cleaning rules, pressures from outside and within

Ella Donovan with mom Tina outside Fuller Lake Arena before heading onto the ice for practice. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Young Ladysmith skater watches and waits in battle against cancer

Ella Donovan’s tumour began a tumultuous time, but community support eased the burden

Captain and Maria, a pair of big and affectionate akbash dogs, must be adopted together because they are so closely bonded. (SPCA image)
Shuswap SPCA seeks forever home for inseparable Akbash dogs

A fundraiser to help medical expenses for Captain and Maria earned over 10 times its goal

The missing camper heard a GSAR helicopter, and ran from his tree well waving his arms. File photo
Man trapped on Manning mountain did nearly everything right to survive: SAR

The winter experienced camper was overwhelmed by snow conditions

Cory Mills, Eric Blackmore and A.J. Jensen, all 20, drown in the Sooke River in February 2020. (Contributed photos)
Coroner confirms ‘puddle jumping’ in 2020 drowning deaths of 3 B.C. men

Cory Mills, Eric Blackmore and A.J. Jensen pulled into raging river driving through nearby flooding

Most Read