Plans to complete the top two shelled-in floors at Vernon Jubilee Hospital are finally here.
Thursday’s announcement by Health Minister Margaret MacDiarmid has long been sought, and fought for.
Demands for more beds have been made by politicians, physicians, nurses and patients alike.
Almost every one throughout the region either knows of or has personally experienced the impact of lack of beds at the hospital. Patients being treated in waiting rooms, allocated to gurneys in the halls and enduring lengthy wait times.
So 60 new beds in the Polson tower will go a long way to easing the congestion that has long plagued VJH.
But that’s not to say it will erase the problem. As our citizenry continues to age and fall victim to disease there will always be demands for healthcare, both emergent and ambulatory. And even though there are additional beds, they don’t necessarily come with additional healthcare staff.
But at least the wait times will be made a little more comfortable for more patients.
There are also still some figures to sort out.
The government has committed a major chunk, $22 million, for the project, which has a total price tag of $29.6 million.
The remainder is expected to come from the North Okanagan-Columbia-Shuswap Regional Hospital District and the VJH Foundation.
It’s still uncertain how those amounts will be collected. But one could expect that regional hospital taxes will climb and the greater community will also be asked to help pitch in. However, the will is there to make this happen and we’re confident that all involved will rise to the occasion to ensure all floors of the Polson tower are serving the community’s health needs for years to come.