EDITORIAL: Abbott out of touch on tower

George Abbott reluctant to support campaign for more beds at Vernon Jubilee Hospital

One has to wonder if George Abbott likes being the odd man out?

The Shuswap MLA isn’t convinced there’s a need to complete the two shelled-in floors at Vernon Jubilee Hospital for acute care beds — a view that is completely contrary to residents throughout the region, physicians, nurses, municipal leaders and Vernon-Monashee MLA Eric Foster.

Abbott claims he hasn’t received many calls from his constituents about surgeries being cancelled and patients being stacked up in halls. But that is surprising given that a recent public rally included residents from Armstrong and Enderby and the Falkand Community Association recently wrote a letter to the editor demanding more acute care beds.

But even if Abbott’s phone isn’t ringing off the hook, it’s a well known fact that most of his constituents — even in Salmon Arm and Sicamous — rely on services at VJH. It is his issue just as much as it is for Foster.

Before looking at the two shelled-in floors, Abbott insists there is a need to look at any efficiencies the new tower may create in patient flow and to move ahead with residential care in the community.

Both are valid points but keep in mind that VJH is already operating as efficiently as possible and overcrowding still occurs, while the creation of residential care beds for seniors  is a long-term initiative and nothing is going to happen overnight.

One would expect Abbott, as a former health minister, to take a greater interest in an issue directly impacting his constituents. But instead, he does nothing but fuel perceptions about politicians and bureaucracy.

– Vernon Morning Star