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General News · 19th December 2011
Claire Trevena
Strong-arm tactics give impression that VIHA plans a hospital that won’t meet community needs

Doctors in Campbell River are being pressured to sign off on a new hospital without the full assurance that it will meet the needs of local residents, say New Democrats.
North Island MLA Claire Trevena said Vancouver Island Health Authority CEO Howard Waldner demanded the Campbell River doctors agree to the proposed hospital by the beginning of this week or the project would be scuttled entirely.
“Mr. Waldner at first told the doctors that they couldn’t see the business plan they were supposed to approve, and then told them they could see one copy but not share it with anyone for their opinions,” said Trevena.
“These strong-arm tactics are enough to make people believe that VIHA is trying to get the doctors to sign off on a hospital plan irrespective of whether the hospital meets the needs of the local community. Then, if residents object, VIHA can lay the blame at the feet of the doctors.
“This is political maneuvering when what Campbell River residents want is effective health care,” said Trevena.
Plans to build two hospitals were announced nearly three years ago after an original notion to build one hospital to cover both Campbell River and the Comox Valley was quashed in the wake of strong local opposition. Trevena said the will of North Island residents was clear.
“What VIHA and the Liberals tried to do then was to pit Campbell River and the Comox Valley against one another,” said Trevena. “If VIHA’s goal now is to continue that internal fight or to force Campbell River to accept a hospital that doesn’t meet its needs, either way, that’s unacceptable.
“I can appreciate the time and effort it takes to prepare for a new hospital. What I cannot accept is artificial, politically motivated timelines and political game-playing.”
Adrian Dix and the New Democrats believe in a strong public health care system that meets the needs of all British Columbians.