New psych ward needed

Statistics show one in four people have some sort of mental health issue.

And that is putting a strain on area emergency rooms and hospitals.

Interior Health President and CEO Chris Mazurkewich toured Vernon Jubilee Hospital Friday and he said a new psychiatric ward in the facility is a priority.

“I would love to see a new psychiatry unit built. That's been on the books, we've been working our way through that process,” said Mazurkewich. “We would love to see it come to fruition and expansion.”

There are currently 18 psychiatric beds at VJH and Mazurkewich said he would like to see that number increase by 50-70 per cent.

“It's a high priority for us,” he said. “We're looking at some minor expansions in other areas but the big project for Vernon is the psychiatry unit.”

Mazurkewich said the current facility is quite old and “standards have changed radically since that facility was built so it is both modernizing it and expanding it to allow for optimal treatment.”

However, Mazurkewich said while it is a priority, there are no plans on expanding the unit anytime soon.

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