The North Island Hospital, Comox Valley, is pictured in a Vista Radio Stock Image taken on Jan.4, 2018(James Wood, MyComoxValleyNow.com Staff)
Fair Share Health Care is calling for change.
North Island Hospital board members and municipal officials are being asked to hold Island Health accountable to resolve overcrowding issues.
It says the hospitals currently have an occupancy rate of 115 per cent at the Comox Valley campus and 111 per cent at the Campbell River campus.
For its second year of operations, this is much higher than Island Health’s 95 per cent performance target.
“If we’re not getting a fair share bang for our buck for our investment into new hospitals, what kind of expenses are we going to incur in the future if it wasn’t built to the capacity our community needs?” asks Fair Share organizer Peggy Stirrett.
A Fair Share analysis shows the situation will only get worse if left unaddressed.
It says the North Island community is not receiving its fair share of health care resources and the new 120 care beds under construction in Comox will not solve the problem when opening late 2021.
And, by then, the shortage of care beds for Campbell River will be as high as Comox is currently.
Stirrett says it would be beneficial if elected officials began providing “that championship leadership for us,” in advocating more for the community and saying overcrowding is not okay.
“Certainly, the people who work for Island Health are working very hard to try and make these hospitals work as best as they possibly can,” Stirrett says. “What we’ve been noticing around Canada, B.C. and the Island, in addition to community activism, municipal elected officials are starting to get very involved. That seems to make a difference.”
She adds part of the challenge comes with those in the community who are uninformed or aren’t aware of the overcrowding issue due to a lack of personal ties.
“When you get into emergency situations and it’s overcrowded and you’ve got long wait times, that’s when people are telling us they have experiences you would never want your mother or grandmother to have.”
Stirrett says Fair Share is working to do its part and share statistics that show there is a problem.
She’s hoping a discussion regarding the overcrowding issue will be brought up at the next North Island Hospital board meeting scheduled for Feb. 13th at 1:30pm in Courtenay.