Acute-care bed shortage worries reader

Dear editor,

Dear editor,

We attended the VIHA meeting where the announcement was made on the new hospital.

Finally, there is a plan and proposed timetable. Let’s hope it happens, sooner rather than later.

At the same meeting, the VIHA board chairman did not wish to discuss recent changes at St. Joseph’s, which will likely impact many Valley residents over the next five years. The CEO, Mr. Waldner, was more consolatory and said that VIHA would work more closely with SJH, but that he expected the hospital to stay on budget.

The issue is not the dedication of staff and professionals. Our experience is that SJH provides good care and we value the excellent work of our doctors and all providing diagnostics, services and care.

The issue is the increasing gap between acute care requirements and changes at SJH which have reduced acute care beds and nursing staff.

The impact will be significant over the next five years, waiting for a new acute care hospital to be built. We are the only  community on Vancouver Island that has lost acute care beds.

Consider this: the recent 

reduction in acute care beds at SJH could, over the next five years, result in a lost opportunity for the equivalent of 18,000 Valley residents to occupy an acute care bed for a two-day stay.

The SJH board is looking after SJH interests, as they must. Our MLA is working on the new acute care hospital. VIHA is working on many issues, but restricting the budget for acute care and long-term care, for the Valley.

Who is working on the five-year gap in acute care created by SJH’s change in direction?

Phil Harrison,

Comox

Comox Valley Record