Falkland places pressure on MLA

Shuswap MLA George Abbott needs to take some time during the remaining days of summer and go for a drive to Falkland.

Shuswap MLA George Abbott needs to take some time during the remaining days of summer and go for a drive to Falkland.

It would be an ideal opportunity to meet with his constituents and discuss issues of concern to them, and specifically Vernon Jubilee Hospital.

Abbott recently indicated he’s not convinced there’s a need to complete the two shelled-in floors at VJH for acute care beds, and that the opening of the new patient care tower may create sufficient efficiencies to resolve overcrowding and cancelled surgeries.

Abbott’s view of things is completely contradictory to the message coming from physicians, nurses, civic leaders and even his own colleague, Vernon-Monashee MLA Eric Foster. But more importantly, Abbott is out of step with his own constituents.

More than 400 Falkland residents have signed a petition demanding that the two shelled-in floors be completed, and on Wednesday, there was a rally at the stampede grounds urging the government to take immediate action at VJH.

The residents of Falkland rely on VJH, as do Armstrong, Enderby and the Shuswap — also represented by Abbott. They understand that conditions at VJH are challenging for physicians, staff and patients and even once the new tower opens in September, there is the very real prospect that patients will still be placed in hallways and surgeries will be scrapped because there aren’t a sufficient number of beds.

It is time for Abbott, who is a former health minister, to discuss the situation openly with his constituents and represent their interests.