Organizer Peter Hill speaks to about 200 people during a rally at Vernon Jubilee Hospital July 1.

Organizer Peter Hill speaks to about 200 people during a rally at Vernon Jubilee Hospital July 1.

Labour Day rally planned for hospital

North Okanagan residents will have another opportunity to speak out on health care.

North Okanagan residents will have another opportunity to speak out on health care.

A rally demanding completion of two floors at Vernon Jubilee Hospital for acute care beds will be held in front of the patient care tower Labour Day, Sept. 5, at noon.

“The premier has said public opinion is something they (government) are guided by,” said Peter Hill, a local resident and rally organizer.

“A large event should show them there is strong support for the two shelled-in floors to be completed.”

VJH is funded for 148 acute care beds but on average, there are 165 patients daily.

That has resulted in patients being kept in hallways, and surgeries being cancelled.

Hill held a similar rally July 1, and residents of Falkland protested over conditions at VJH Aug. 10.

“This is everyone’s care and concern because Vernon Jubilee Hospital serves the whole region,” said Hill.

Hill believes the demand for action is gaining momentum.

“I’m getting people all of the time contacting me,” he said.

“Public opinion without question will win the day.”

It’s estimated that it could cost about $10 million to complete each of the shelled-in floors and then $10 million each annually to operate the floors (with 30 beds each).

“The necessary funds needed, we believe, can be found and provided, because public opinion as we know, is not only growing stronger with each passing day, but with the extreme and crucial situation that Vernon Jubilee Hospital finds itself in has to be addressed at all costs at the earliest possible date,” said Hill.

Health Minister Michael de Jong recently told The Morning Star that the situation at VJH is being reviewed.