Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Stay Christy, Stay!...(v7.0)


Last week the (not)Premier committed a BC Place roof-like amount of our money towards the building of two new hospitals in Comox and Campbell River over on Vancouver Island.

Which is a good thing.


After all, spending our money on infrastructure that the populace actually needs rather than laying out the large to make it easier (allegedly) to have a building that will be used, at most, 50 days a year for minor league sports spectacles, monster truck pulls, boat shows and chilli bake-offs is a good thing.

Isn't it?


Don't forget how close Campbell River and Comox are to each other.

Which means that, once the building shells are built there will be a lot of pressure to raise money, from the same citizen and business base, to fill those shells with actual, you know, medical stuff.

And then they will have to compete, through the same regional health authority for the resources to recruit and train actual medical-type folks to make all that medical stuff work.

Which means that, as Paul Rudan wrote in the Campbell River Mirror, in the end this will likely turn out to be a bad thing for all the people of the North Island:

"Earlier this year I wrote that “we” – the collective we – should reconsider the decision to build two new hospitals.
My opinion was based on my own experience in hospital combined with the opinions of the many health care professionals I spoke with; the vast majority of whom said one hospital would be better.
The column brought a lot of response from people on both sides of the fence.
All had valid views, but it was soon afterwards when I heard the “writing was on the wall” and there was no going back on the two-hospital option.
Well, so be it, the decision has been made and two hospitals we shall have.
Let me say this first, this was a political decision that will not result in better or improved health care for residents on the upper half of Vancouver Island.
How can they possibly provide better health care when you split up services, combined with competing fundraisers who try to out-do each other in getting the latest and greatest, and quite expensive, medical equipment for each hospital?..."


Bottom line - announcing plans to build buildings without having a plan to actually fill those buildings and then bring in the people to actually do the work in those buildings is short-sighted in the extreme.

Of course, that kind of PR-driven short-sightedness means that any and all shortcomings will only became apparent to the citizenry after the ratings book is released during next May's spring sweeps.

Which, I suppose, is exactly what we should expect from a talk-show government.



The remedy here is to have this  kind of politically-motivated codswallop called out for what it really is, long and hard.


Except for a quick hit by Robert Matas in The Globe, the pundits have pretty much all let the big picture implications of this story slide because they've got a whole lotta deckchair shuffling on the Titanic to cover - the latest being the change in job description for former Doobie Bros. frontman Michael McDonald.

Imagine that!



kootcoot said...

"talk-show government"

Love it............

Justus Havelaar said...

RossK and Robert Matas put too much faith in the views of Paul Rudan. VIHA originally proposed and promoted a "one-hospital" model, which proved to be so unpopular north of Comox that it was dropped in favour of the proposal now announced. It was also unpopular with the vast majority of the medical community, so it's far from clear who the "many health professionals" Rudan talked to actually were.
What RossK doesn't seem to get is that there are already two old, overcrowded hospitals here. Between them, they already offer a full range of services. That will not change, and neither Comox-Courtenay nor Campbell River has any problem attracting and holding medical specialists. Of course people from our area will continue to be referred to bigger centres for procedures like cancer treatment, but a change to that model was never part of VIHA's plans for the area.
So Christy isn't at fault for this one: this is instead a good example of a bureaucracy following the wishes of the electorate, strongly encouraged, in this case, by a popular NDP MLA, Claire Trevena!

e.a.f. said...

The areas currently each have a hospital. The need for that will not deminish as time passes. Having one hospital half way between the two areas will only lead to problems for all.

There is little to no bus service in the area propsed for the one hospital, so how would employee's get to work? How would people get to the hospital to be admitted or others to visit? Would hospital volunteers be willing to spend additional time & money for gas reaching their destination?
Hospitals need to be on an active bus line.

A couple of months ago we had an extremely strong wind & rain storm. Some roads were not passable. Power was out in areas for up to 3 days. This happens every couple of yrs. Why build a hospital in an area which would be difficult to reach for ambulances, staff, RCMP, patients, etc.

Campbell River & Comox Valley are both growing, just check out all the new homes being built. We have an aging population in both areas & more seniors moving in all the time. Each area will continue to need a hospital of its own.

These areas are not like in the lower mainland. Our weather can be more extreme & the roads less passable in extreme weather. One concern is the lack of highway snow removal. If the highway is blocked with snow how will anyone, including ambulances get to the hospital?

As to competing for staff & equipment, the government has an obligation to provide such equipment. That they fail to do so for lots of hospitals will not remedy the situation, by having just one hospital.

Both Campbell River & the Comox Valley have active fund raising for their hospitals. I would not expect that level of fundraising to happen with just one hospital. No one would feel it was part of their community.

The real problem is the two hospitals have not had sufficient funds from the government over the past 10 yrs to maintain them in proper condition.

Campbell River & the Comox Valley each need their own hospital for the types of things that go wrong with people. The really major items would not be dealt with in even a one hospital situation. Children would still hve to go to Childrens' Hospital in Vancouver. Cancer clincs are only in major centres & the very best surgeons, etc. still are in areas such as the lower mainland & greater Victoria because the major hospitals are there.

In the end given past practises of government we would have one empty hospital anyhow.

We can only hope the current provincial government goes away sooner than later. Perhaps then health care will become more of a priority than stadiums & their roofs & highways to Whistler.