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Doctors reject hospital model

Campbell River doctors have written a letter to the Ministry of Health denouncing the model proposed by the Vancouver Island Health Authority (VIHA) in the new hospital project.

The physicians wrote a letter to the ministry and the health authority in support of a new hospital in Campbell River but rejected the governance structure of one hospital on two sites, with the medical staff at both hospitals working as a single, cohesive unit.

“The physicians of the Campbell River medical staff wish to publicly express our support for the building of a new hospital in Campbell River, a capital project which is desperately needed and long overdue,” said Dr. Roy Minaar, medical staff president, who wrote the letter on behalf of the entire medical staff. “We also recognize the financial cost benefit to the provincial government and to all taxpayers of linking the construction of the Campbell River facility and the new hospital in the Comox Valley.”

The letter also stated the doctors will not tolerate an erosion of medical services at the Campbell River hospital.

“Both communities are facing increasing demand for complete hospital services,” reads the letter. “The new hospitals must allow for sustainable medical services within each city and must provide for future development of specific local services as required.”

Doctors worry that with the one hospital, two site model that VIHA is proposing, Campbell River will lose out.

“One problem...was the one hospital model on two sites,” said Minaar at a medical staff meeting last week. “I don’t really know what that means, it’s open to interpretation.

“But I believe acute care services will all go to one site and it won’t be Campbell River.”

Minaar said there has already been an erosion of services at Campbell River hospital, particularly in the laboratory.

“Microbiology has been under continuous assault,” Minaar said. “There is no way you can misconstrue the attempts of erosion in the laboratory services.

“If it wasn’t for physicians making themselves vulnerable to victimization the laboratory would be closed.”

The doctors also accused VIHA of failing to properly communicate its plans for a new hospital.

“The planning process to date has been fraught with poor engagement of the medical staff by VIHA,” said the letter. “There has been very poor communication, transparency and inclusiveness by VIHA in this process since its inception.”

Minaar said VIHA expects the doctors to approve a project without any information.

“VIHA has asked the physicians to buy into supporting a model with no real information as to what that model was,” he said. “We didn’t know any of the details of the business case.”

The business case will be presented by VIHA to the provincial government asking the province for capital funding to support the project.

The project, which involves a new Campbell River hospital on the site of the current hospital, and a new hospital in the Comox Valley, is estimated at $550 million.

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