EDITORIAL: VJH in the running for funding

Premier Christy Clark acknowledges demands for more beds at Vernon Jubilee Hospital, but no promises

Obviously there are no promises here, but the fact that B.C.’s foremost politician has Vernon Jubilee Hospital on her radar is a good sign.

Premier Christy Clark has stated that she is well aware of the overcrowding situation at VJH and she is feeling the pressure to have the top two shelled-in floors completed.

So that at least puts us in the running when decisions are being made for capital health dollars.

But the reality is we’re not the only ones with our hands out.

There are other B.C. communities facing similar overcrowding situations, some of which are faring in aging hospitals while we have our brand new tower. Then there are communities that have no operating hospital at all and have to drive hours to seek medical attention.

But the fact that Vernon hit a new record of 193 patients in a day (ironically on the same day the B.C. budget was released) might put us a notch up on the priority list.

Just to compare, in December the number of patients admitted daily was between 160 to 179, and those numbers are eight to 20 per cent over capacity.

Then you have to consider all the surgeries that are being cancelled simply because there are no beds.

Those cancelled surgeries added up throughout the Interior Health Authority and cost us $3.4 million. That was the fine issued to IHA for not meeting provincially mandated targets.

One has to wonder how the government can expect us to meet such targets when we don’t have the capacity.