Nearly 80 per cent of Campbell river physician support of the new hospital’s location, size, 95-bed count and $266 million cost, according to the Vancouver Island Health Authority.
In a news release, Dr. Jeff Beselt, Chief of Staff at Campbell River Hospital, reported the outcome of the physicians’ vote to more than 125 community members who attended a North Island Hospitals Project public information meeting held at the Maritime Heritage Centre on Feb. 21. The physicians’ vote took place on Feb. 20.
Claire Moglove, chair of the Comox Strathcona Regional Hospital District board of directors, said the news of the vote outcome was very significant.
“There have been recent media reports suggesting that the doctors were not supportive of the process, the number of beds or the site,” Moglove said. “I hope the vote results will now put these issues to rest.”
Moglove was also pleased with the public meeting, particularly the time allotted for questions from the audience. The meeting carried on well past 9 p.m. so that chief project officer Tom Sparrow and Dr. Beselt could answer any and all the questions.
“This was an excellent opportunity for the public to hear and see details about the new hospital, including that it will be 69 per cent larger than the existing hospital and the emergency department will be three times larger,” said Moglove. “There will be four operating rooms, there will be a Centre for Excellence for Aboriginal Maternity, all patient rooms will be single-patient occupancy and there will be a residency agreement with the UBC/UVic Island Medical Program.”
Among the concerns raised was the pending loss of autopsy services. At the meeting, Beselt explained that after extensive review, the Clinical Leadership Steering Committee – made up of clinicians from VIHA, the Campbell River Hospital and St. Joseph’s Hospital in Comox, – agreed that consolidating autopsy services at the new Comox Valley Hospital would be more efficient.
“It will also free up additional space in the new Campbell River Hospital to perform thousands of additional procedures for local residents,” said Beselt.
A new project website is currently under development which will feature Facebook and Twitter links.
Web cams will be installed at both Campbell River and Comox Valley sites to enable real-time viewing of hospital construction.
“We will continue to provide new communication channels to both engage and inform the public,” said Toni O’Keeffe, VIHA’s Vice President of Communications and Public Relations. “This will include regular updates on the project, a newsletter, local media and quarterly public meetings.”
Commenting on the physicians’ vote, O’Keeffe said consultations will continue with all physicians.
“We’re pleased that this important group of stakeholders is having these discussions,” she said. “We look forward to continuing to work with all Campbell River physicians.”
Chief Project Officer Tom Sparrow said the North Island Hospitals Project is picking up speed as a myriad of elements are falling into place. He’s eager to keep spreading the message through public meetings as well as continued meetings with local government, the Comox Strathcona Regional Hospital District, Aboriginal leaders, chambers of commerce, the school districts and many more.
“We recognize the thirst for information about this incredibly complex project,” he said. “These state-of-the-art facilities will be the cornerstones of their respective communities and the North Island.”
VIHA says the North Island Hospitals Project is showing progress on a number of other fronts:
- Transfer of ownership of City of Courtenay and North Island College properties to the North Island Hospitals Project has been finalized.
- Site preparation contracts have been awarded for both sites.
- Site preparation work is beginning at the Comox Valley site.
- Site preparation work is expected to begin soon on the Campbell River site.