|Dr. David Paisley has been a general practitioner at Penticton Regional Hospital for the past 20 years and is also president of the Penticton Medical Society. The |
society will be turning the heat up on the provincial government to approve a
proposed $300-million expansion to the hospital.
Penticton Medical Society President Dr. David Paisley and Dr. Sarah Broder, a respirologist and previous chief of medicine, will be among those lobbying the province to support a proposed $300-million expansion at the aging hospital.
While the Penticton hospital expansion is ranked as the top capital priority in the Interior Health region, it's failed to get the green light. Yet improvements have taken place at Vernon Jubilee Hospital in spite of it being fifth on the list.
"Somehow these get funded, and we thought, 'We're number 1 and how come they keep leapfrogging ahead of us?'" said Broder, who started at the hospital in 1997.
Upgrades are badly needed at the facility, which was built in 1951. Doctors are working in cramped rooms, treating patients in surgery rooms that were designed to house only a bed and a lamp.
The facility is equipped with old ventilation systems that provide little infection control capacity, and the layout of the 60-year-old hospital forces patients - some of them with oxygen tanks and IV stands - to walk long distances for tests and scans.
Some examination rooms are so small that patients are moved around in a manner that at times causes them to block doorways while they're being examined.
Norm Embree, chairman of the Interior Health board, recently told the Okanagan-Similkameen Regional Hospital District board that the expansion project has the full support of Interior Health in lobbying the province to approve its $160-million share of the bill.
The two doctors said an expansion would maximize efficiencies in service delivery by using a new outpatient physical plant while maintaining operating costs at current levels as well as improving available services throughout the entire South Okanagan area.
The new tower would combine ambulatory services into one building to allow patients to access multiple services during one visit. Combining ambulatory functions would improve access and flow for staff and patients and allow equipment to be shared, which isn't currently possible.