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Vernon hospital petition hits the streets

The public fight over Vernon Jubilee Hospital has been launched.

The Vernon Taxpayers Association is calling on North Okanagan residents and groups to volunteer their time to circulate a petition demanding funding equity at VJH.

“VJH is the only regional hospital that is over capacity every day and it’s the only hospital without an MRI machine,” said Tony Stamboulieh, spokesman.

Anyone interested in helping distribute the petition is asked to call 260-1082 or e-mail antonystam@shaw.ca.

Details on where petitions can be signed will be announced next week.

Stamboulieh believes it makes sense for his organization to get directly involved in the issue of funding and resources at VJH.

“We are all potential clients of the hospital and as good Canadians, health care is at the top of the agenda for us,” he said.

“It seems like nothing is happening so we need to get together as citizens.”

Stamboulieh is confident that municipal councils throughout the North Okanagan-Shuswap will get directly involved in the petition and pushing for changes at VJH.

“The day may come where they (councillors) may find themselves in a closest because there’s no room in the hospital for them,” he said.

Wayne Lippert, Vernon mayor, is pleased to see the petition.

“It will let the minister know our residents are deeply concerned about this,” he said.

During a recent interview, Okanagan Vernon MLA Tom Christensen denied VJH is being treated differently than other hospitals.

Christensen also pointed out that considerable money has been invested at VJH, including $81 million for a treatment and diagnostic tower.

“It’s a simplistic view to look at one hospital without looking at the system as a whole,” he said.

However, Stamboulieh believes Christensen is not representing the interests of local residents.

“It’s very simplistic of Mr. Christensen to ignore the very real concerns of citizens about their health care,” he said.

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