IH working to get caught up on surgeries

Dear Editor:

Patients in Interior Health who had their surgeries postponed due to COVID-19 have not been forgotten and through the surgery renewal commitment announced by Minister of Health Adrian Dix on May 7, scheduled surgeries are again being delivered.

Across Interior Health, 16 facilities are delivering scheduled surgeries in addition to emergency and urgent procedures. Interior Health has a contract with one private facility to deliver surgeries, and that site is also now running at full contracted capacity.

We started to call patients on the wait list in early May to see if they wished to proceed with their surgery, and since then, we have reached out to 7,303 patients.

Scheduled surgeries resumed on May 18, and by June 7, we completed 2,018 scheduled surgeries and 777 unscheduled surgeries.

The first phase of the surgery renewal is focused on patients needing urgent surgeries: patients whose operations must occur in fewer than four weeks; patients who have had their surgery postponed; and patients who have waited longer than twice their accepted clinical wait time benchmarks.

Surgeries that can be safely conducted as day procedures or outside of the main operating room, such as cataract surgeries, are also part of this first phase.

The impact of pausing scheduled surgeries this spring is ongoing. We know there were already patients waiting for the dental, hip, knee and other surgeries. We also know COVID-19 further extended their wait.

At this time, we will be addressing patient needs based on urgency, prior postponement and time waiting for surgery. As we move forward, we are committed to restoring timely access to all surgeries.

Over the summer, we’ll be identifying and implementing strategies to increase operating room hours.

With these efforts, we believe we can keep up with ongoing and new demands for surgery and, over the next 17-24 months, complete the surgeries postponed due to COVID-19.

It’s a demanding timeline, and we need to recognize that surgery renewal is vulnerable to external forces, such as the second wave of COVID-19 that health officials have indicated could happen.

Each one of us must continue to use the skills public health leaders have taught us to stop the spread of COVID-19. By working together we have flattened our curve and brought our province to the point where we were able to resume scheduled surgeries.

Everyone across Interior Health is 100 per cent all-in on surgery renewal. And to help them, we all need to stay 100 per cent committed to stopping the spread.

Doug Cochrane, chairman of the Interior Health board

Buy Canadian campaign should be expanded

Dear Editor:

A campaign to “buy Canadian” and support local farm producers should also apply to the hard goods we buy.

As consumers we should be asking “is this made in Canada?” And if so, we could be encouraged to buy and keep those dollars closer to home.

We have come full circle when goods were made locally and employed people in our community. Now, we have seen conglomerates purchasing our local manufacturers and closing the shops that were the bread and butter of the local economy.

The man or woman who was displaced or laid off is no longer paying income tax and puts that individual at risk of having to leave the immediate area.

These people helped fund our tax base, bought groceries and sent their kids to school, dealt with a bank, doctor and dentist, hired a plumber, electrician or painter (all local) and the dollar went around rather than out of town. The student graduating has the opportunity of staying close to home, because there is a manufacturer who needs to hire bright young people, instead of heading to the big city to find work.

Buying Canadian keeps the money in Canada and helps fund the services we need and have come to expect, so the next time you are out shopping, ask the salesperson “Is this made in Canada?” Buy and shop locally. It benefits us all.

At the same time I would like to ask our federal, provincial and municipal leaders and the media in general to Promote “Made in Canada”

Lakhmer Klar, Kelowna

Pandosy plan would be bad for the whole city

Dear Editor:

Re: No KGH hotel in their backyard (page A4, June 16):

Reporter Ron Seymour acknowledges in his article that Erica Bell-Lowther states in her earlier letter that “the project would have serious, long-term negative impacts for Kelowna…”

This clearly and earnestly implies that the project is not in the best interest of the city as a whole — not just her neighbourhood, as the headline suggests.

The recent announcement stating that City of Kelowna’s planning department is in favour of and intends to support the hotel/commercial development on Pandosy Street is mind boggling.

It is contrary to established official community plan principles for the area and existing siting and height standards — the very principles initially adopted by the same city department.

What is more concerning is this development may lead to the sprawl of commercial development between the downtown and the successful and attractive South Pandosy town centre.

An important principle in planning for a town centre is that it has defined boundaries. It is not difficult to imagine the proposed project, with its large commercial component leading to other projects merging with the South Pandosy town centre in the future. Planning staff should be leading the effort in avoiding such urban sprawl.

It also concerns me that there should be a comprehensive traffic study to determine the project’s impact on the already dysfunctional road and parking issues in the hospital area.

Abbott Street, technically a residential collector, serves as a de facto high-traffic arterial.

A high volume of West Kelowna traffic turn right off the bridge and use Abbott Street as a shortcut to the hospital facilities and to the South Pandosy area. This project would no doubt add to those problems.

Robert and Mary Runnalls, Kelowna

One bill was more omnibus than the other

Dear Editor:

On June 10, the Liberal government introduced Bill C-17, which consisted of a disability benefit and means to deal with potential CERB fraud, which the Conservative Opposition had complained of repeatedly.

The offer was made to split this bill to simplify it for the Opposition, which the Conservatives also blocked.

In 2012, Bill C-38 amended 63 acts — yes, 63 acts — of previous legislation, including repealing the Fair Hours of Labour Act, eliminating the CSIS Inspector General, and the necessity of the Auditor General undertaking annual financial audits.

Absolutely comparable, wouldn’t you say?

Elaine Lawrence, Kelowna