Tough words to premier from doctors

In the aftermath of Premier Christy Clark’s visit to Penticton Regional Hospital on Friday, doctors have sent out a letter to the premier and media.

Dr. David Paisley, president of the Penticton Medical Society, said they appreciated that she came, but they still do not have a definitive answer on the hospital expansion they have been asking for.

"With her visit, people actually thought it was being dealt with," he said. "But it's more damage control than anything else. She left without definite approval and that is what we need."

Paisley said they will keep a close eye on what happens with the provincial budget on Tuesday.

"We will be watching for our project and will be very happy if it is in and very unhappy if it is not," he said. "If it is not it is up to the community to stand up and make as much noice as possible."

A doctors' meeting last week on much needed upgrades to serve an aging and growing population was attended by about 750 people.

Doctors and local politicians have been asking for the expansion that costs $300 million for months. Much of the cost is covered, with the government being asked to put in $160 million.

Here is a copy of the letter:

February 17, 2013.

Dear Premier Christy Clark,

Thank you for coming to tour Penticton Regional Hospital on Friday, Feb. 15th. We
appreciate that you took time out of your busy pre-election schedule to visit and tour our
facility. However, your lack of commitment to the Patient Care Tower is unacceptable.

You indicated that this project will move forward “based on need and not politics”. This
project has been the number one priority for Interior Health for 3 years.

Our communitythen wonders how the approval and funding for Kamloops hospital parking lot and
Vernon’s extra inpatients beds leap frogged ahead of Penticton’s Patient Care Tower.
The Concept Plan which included a preliminary business plan has been in the hands of
your government since September 1, 2012.

This is obviously political and NOT about providing excellent patient care by proven
performers. Other Okanagan communities have had more capital expenditures over
the last 10 years as compared to Penticton at a ratio of more than 4-to-1 dollars spent
per person per year - it is our turn!!

Our need is desperate and long overdue.

You also commented that you “will fast track and kick down barriers” to review the
business plan and yet, the projects in Vernon and Kamloops were approved by
Treasury Board without the business plan in place.

We must have a public and clear commitment from you and your BC Liberal party that
Penticton Regional Hospital Patient Care Tower will be approved and construction will
start as soon as possible. Nothing else is acceptable.

We will continue to advocate loudly and strongly for our patients, our region and all of
the allied health care providers.

We expect to hear in your budget release on February 19th, 2013 that Penticton
Regional Hospital Patient Care Tower will be approved and construction can begin.

Dr. David Paisley, MD, MBChB

President of Penticton Medical Society

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