Another of the quarterly North Island Hospitals Project (NIHP) community consultations took place Dec. 4 in the Timberline High School Theatre, and it was another poor showing from the community being consulted.
“It’s a shame that more people don’t come,” said Bill Ritchie, a Campbell River resident, after attending the Dec. 4 session – his third such meeting. “We have the opportunity to come and have reasoned input, and I bet there weren’t more than 10 people here from the general community,” Richie said.
He feels it’s important to come to community information sessions like this, “simply so that there isn’t a whole bunch of misinformation going around town. I don’t think there has been so far (about this particular project), but there is about so much of the stuff going on, where people get on the Internet and Facebook and complain and write letters to the editors and they don’t know what they’re talking about,” he said. “People are pretty quick to bitch and complain, but they don’t necessarily find out if they’re even right before they flap their gums. If people would just check and find out what they’re talking about, it would be nice,” Ritchie laughed. “That’s what this kind of thing is useful for. It’s all here – all you have to do is ask.”
NIHP Chief Project Officer Tom Sparrow said the lack of attendance doesn’t affect their willingness to have these meetings.
“I want to share it with the communities. I want you folks to be able to be involved in the evolution of our designs and be a part of the process,” he said at the meeting. “We’ll continue to do that through the life of the project. We’re going to be as transparent as you can get.”
Jennifer Singer, Senior Project Coordinator of the Comox Valley site was also recently tasked with the formation of the Public/Patient Advisory Committee to create yet another level of public consultation. The 14 members of the committee, according to Singer, selected after an extensive application process from all over the region, from Port McNeill to Courtenay, “will work on all aspects of the design of the hospital – way-finding, interiors, access issues, from now through the duration of the project.”
The consultation process doesn’t just involve engaging the general public, however. It wouldn’t make sense to design a hospital without the help of those who will be delivering services within it, after all.
“Our clinical teams – we have 35 teams made up of representatives from both Campbell River Hospital and St. Josephs Hospital (in Comox) – have been actively involved and continue to be actively involved in designing our facilities over the next few years,” said Sparrow. “Once we finish that off, we will then move into developing the transition planning with them, so that their teams and departments will all be very much aware of what we’re designing and be able to ensure that they’re up to speed when it comes to delivering healthcare in these facilities that they were directly involved in helping to design. We could not design these facilities without their direct input, support and guidance.”
For those who wish to have input into the construction of the new hospital or have any questions about the project, the next community consultation session is scheduled for Thursday, March 12, 2015.