Public meeting on new hospital postponed

Diane
Diane Crocker
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CORNER BROOK  The public meeting to discuss plans for the new hospital in Corner Brook will now take place tonight at 7 p.m. at the Greenwood Inn and Suites.

The meeting had originally been scheduled for Wednesday night, but at mid-afternoon organizer Israel Hann said weather conditions around the city meant the event had to be postponed.

Hann is part of a local health-care action committee that is concerned the provincial government’s plan to replace Western Memorial Regional Hospital with a new facility will result in a downsizing of both the building and the services it will offer.

Hann was recently quoted as saying that now is the time for people to get involved and speak out about that plan.

“It’s time for apathy to go out the door,” said Hann, a local seniors and health-care advocate last week. “Get out and get involved. Once it’s done it’s too late to speak.”

While aimed at the general public, Wednesday’s meeting was to be attended by several politicians.

Opposition Leader Dwight Ball, his fellow Liberal MHA Eddie Joyce, and Liberal MP Gerry Byrne were all set to attend. NDP Leader Lorraine Michael, the party’s health critic, was also planning to travel to the city for the meeting.

Ball and Joyce, the MHA for the Bay of Islands, issued a press release Wednesday afternoon to say they would be at tonight’s meeting. Byrne, the MP for Humber-St. Barbe-Baie Verte, said he will also be in attendance.

Michael will not be able to make it to the meeting, however, a spokesperson from her office said she will be following up with Hann as she is very interested in the issue.

Meanwhile, the City of Corner Brook issued a press release on Wednesday afternoon saying that council wants the best possible services for the new hospital.

The release says that city council is working with government and other municipalities to ensure that the new hospital meets the needs of all residents on the west coast.

 Mayor Charles Pender says residents of the west coast deserve access to up-to-date health-care infrastructure and people need to be better informed and ask questions if they have concerns.

“As a new council, we want to ensure we are getting accurate and up to date information on the new hospital and the services that will be provided,” he said in the release.

“We have a long-standing commitment from government that the hospital will be built, tens of millions of dollars have already been spent on infrastructure to support the hospital and millions more have been allocated, so we are moving forward.”

Still, the mayor says council has been hearing questions from residents about the need for additional services.

“So, we want to ask government to consider these additional services in the new hospital, including cancer treatment services, if it makes sense to do so. If these services cannot be accommodated, people need to understand why. ”

In addition to a meeting between the mayor and Premier Kathy Dunderdale in November, council has met with the local citizens’ group, all three local MHAs and the area’s MP, to discuss the new hospital.

In late November, council also sent a formal request to all municipalities on the west coast, asking them to write to their MHAs and the minister of Health in support of the hospital.

Council will also be meeting with Health Minister Susan Sullivan in the coming weeks.

“From the moment we took office, this council has been saying that we need the right hospital with the best possible services to meet the needs of our residents in the long-term. We are looking forward to speaking with the minister to be updated on plans for this project.”

Geographic location: CORNER BROOK

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  • david
    January 08, 2014 - 17:58

    Fitting, no?