Health Minister Michael de Jong is expected to announced more acute care beds at Vernon Jubilee Hospital Friday.

Health Minister Michael de Jong is expected to announced more acute care beds at Vernon Jubilee Hospital Friday.

More beds on horizon

Health Minister Michael de Jong announcement expected to ease overcrowding at Vernon Jubilee Hospital

Health Minister Michael de Jong is facing significant expectations.

De Jong, along with MLA Eric Foster, will be at Vernon Jubilee Hospital today to announce plans to reduce overcrowding.

“I’m hoping they make the right decision which is to address capacity at the hospital,” said Dr. Chris Cunningham, who has been lobbying the government to expand the number of acute care beds. “We’ve always said the two (shelled-in) floors in the tower are needed. We need more capacity.”

Anything less than development of both floors and Cunningham expects challenges will still continue.

When asked if one or two floors will proceed, Foster said, “I can’t tell you,” adding that full details will be disclosed to the community today.

Residents, health care workers and civic leaders have been demanding more acute care beds at VJH for a number of years. Overcrowding has resulted in patients being admitted to hallways and surgeries being cancelled.

Foster admits that a plan has been in the works for some time.

“We wanted to make sure the money was in place,” he said, adding he is pleased de Jong will be in Vernon.

“We want to get moving on this.”