Will the health minister meet the capital and operational needs of the Saanich Peninsula Hospital?

May 1, 2024 | 42-5, Blog, Governance, Legislature, Question Period, Video, Well-being | 0 comments

The health minister Hon. Adrian Dix and Island Health have both known that the Saanich Peninsula hospital requires significant operational and capital investments.

Residents of the Saanich Peninsula have always stepped to support their hospital but with a recent story about cockroaches in the hospital there is further evidence of the work ahead.

In question period I sought confirmation from Minister Dix that he is fully committed to investing to ensure the Saanich Peninsula hospital remains critical healthcare infrastructure for our communities going forward.

[Transcript]

A. Olsen:

Yesterday, the government House Leader said: “He lives in one of the more beautiful ridings in the province, if not the country.” He is, of course, speaking of my riding. I’ve checked it out, and he’s right.

The Saanich Peninsula and the southern Gulf Islands attract thousands of people from across the country and the province. They retire here, and unfortunately, they don’t come with a family doctor. Even though we know this is the kind of community that exists on the Saanich Peninsula, there’s no program to match newcomers with primary health care. Their health care needs add pressure to the Saanich Peninsula Hospital, making it an even more important part of the health care system on the Saanich Peninsula.

Yet, the Minister of Health and Island Health have failed to meet the operational and capital needs of our hospital. To the Minister of Health, why is he ignoring the Saanich Peninsula Hospital?

Hon. A. Dix:

Of course the member, because he is routinely briefed on these issues, knows that’s not the case. In the last number of months, we’ve hired a new emergency department manager, a clinical nurse educator, clinical nurse leaders, respiratory therapists, nursing unit assistants and unit aides. We have one of the most significant recruitment campaigns underway across the country because we’re working together with the community.

We believe in San Pen, we believe in Saanich Peninsula Hospital. And we agree that the riding is not only beautiful, but it has wonderful people in it. That’s why we want to ensure that care is provided.

[2:25 p.m.]

In addition, the program the member mentioned, primary care. The new doctor’s contract and the recruitment efforts in British Columbia led to 21 percent more longitudinal family doctors on Vancouver Island in nine months. We are progressing on both sets of issues, working together with the community to ensure that San Pen delivers the services it needs, and we deliver primary care services in the Saanich Peninsula and across the member’s riding.

The Speaker: Member, supplemental.

A. Olsen:

Every year, the Saanich Peninsula Hospital and Health Care Foundation raises thousands, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of dollars for our hospital. We do our part to keep our hospital updated.
It’s the ministry and the health authority who fail to meet the operational and the capital needs of the hospital. The evening emergency room closure — well, that was temporary at first. Now it appears that it’s indefinite. Major capital investments that have been identified and long-needed to key systems are being ignored.

The latest story? Cockroaches. The dismissive response from the Health Authority: “Don’t worry. They don’t bite.” Well, frankly, it’s inexcusable.

The ministry shouldn’t be letting this facility deteriorate. They should be expanding it and enhancing it. Is the next step for this hospital going to be closure? The capital region can ill afford to have the Saanich Peninsula and the outer Gulf Islands residents going to the other hospitals in our region. Will the Minister of Health commit today to immediately meeting both the capital and the operational needs of the Saanich Peninsula Hospital?

Hon. A. Dix:

Just to correct the member, that wasn’t the response of Island Health. The report came in on the 17. Immediately, pest control was brought in. Since April 22, there were no reports of further cockroaches. That was the response: immediate and comprehensive action, as it should be in every case.
We have 82 acute care hospitals across the province. Those issues do come from time to time, and we have a protocol to do it, and we respond. Island Health responded immediately. To suggest that they didn’t is just incorrect. It’s factually incorrect.

The investments I talked about: incremental operating investments of $2.95 million. The first physicians’ assistant program in British Columbia will be at Saanich Peninsula Hospital. We are adding associate physicians to the hospital. We are fundamentally committed to Saanich Peninsula Hospital, and we continue to be so.

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