New ER put on hold

WCGH emergency room expansion put on hold until 2018.

West Coast General Hospital’s emergency room expansion has been put off until 2018, according to director of planning for Island Health Chris Sullivan.

Sullivan said that while Island Health had identified the ER expansion as a priority in 2014-15, “some other things have cropped up that are very high priority.”

These projects include infrastructure at other hospitals on the Island.

“Our boilers at Royal Jubilee [Hospital in Victoria] could fail at any time, so we’re looking to replace that for $6.5 million, and our electrical energy plants at Nanaimo Hospital we’re at capacity and if there’s a failure that’s another problem as well,” Sullivan said.

Another cost that’s cropped up is a revised medication distribution strategy.

“We’re looking to change our method of giving medication to our patients based on a barcoded system,” Sullivan said. “Basically, the right time, the right drug, the right person, the right dose. So that’s a very expensive project as well.”

Sproat Lake electoral area director Penny Cote questioned the lack of funding in capital reserve for repairs and replacements of hospital equipment.

“It seems to me that a boiler would be something that the hospital would have had a reserve fund for…for it to be in an emergency situation just doesn’t sound right to me.”

Sullivan told the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District board that Island Health had looked at alternative methods of funding the boilers but had come up short.

“We spent probably two years trying to identify those alternate routes and we were unsuccessful in finding anything that would not be considered capital. It’s not a surprise that it’s a priority, it’s a surprise that we’ve had to squeeze it into our capital plan.”

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