Byrnes calls for radiation/oncology unit in new Corner Brook hospital

Frank Gale
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The site of the new Corner Brook hospital is shown in this undated photo.
— Star file photo

The Bay St. George Chamber of Commerce has written Health Minister Susan Sullivan regarding plans for the new regional hospital in Corner Brook.

Bob Byrnes, president, said he and members of the chamber executive were disappointed in the minister’s response to comments made by radiologist Dr. Bob Cook regarding the inclusion of a Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scanner for the new hospital.

He said government’s decision on this was short sighted and he feels by the time the new hospital is operational a PET scanner will be standard equipment for clinics, let alone regional hospitals.

Byrnes said technology is moving at such a rapid pace that advances in medical services require that governments be proactive in any long range planning.

He feels in this instance the construction of a new regional facility is an excellent opportunity for the government to respond to the latest advances in medicine.

He said Minister Sullivan should be more cognizant of the needs of all residents of the province and not just those east of the overpass. For many people on the west coast requiring health care treatment, visits to St John’s are expensive and require long waits of up to a year to see specialists.

Byrnes said the new regional hospital should come with the latest technology available to better serve the residents on this side of the island.

“The same arguments being used today regarding the PET scan machine were also used to counter the advocates for Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) in the past,” he said.

Byrnes said he is asking the minister to listen to front line staff in health care because if this province is to attract and retain the best physicians and staff, it must keep abreast of the rapidly changing technology.

Right now anyone needing radiation treatment for cancer has to go to St. John’s, yet there are three nuclear medicine technicians at Western Memorial Regional Hospital in Corner Brook right now and one of them is already trained to do PET scanning.

“I really have concerns about where the minister is getting her information. We (residents) desperately need a radiation/oncology unit based here on the west coast of Newfoundland,” Byrnes said.

Organizations: Corner Brook hospital, Western Memorial Regional Hospital

Geographic location: Corner Brook, Newfoundland

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Recent comments

  • rworried
    February 09, 2014 - 16:42

    I wonder how many people feel that our province is devided when it comes to health care. It's the Avalon and then it's the rest of the province. I think Government should be in Central Newfoundland , only then will things be equal, because it certainly isn't at the moment. Anything of any importance happens on the East Coast. The rest if Newfoundland exists too, and we are taxpayers who expect the same consideration as the people on the other side of this Island. It's disgraceful and has been going on far too long.

  • Steve
    February 09, 2014 - 13:17

    Make this happen Corner Brook. I've had a family member go through cancer treatment and the trips across the island and long stays away from home makes coping and recovery that much more difficult. A center to serve the people of the north and south coasts and all points in between, would make a lot of sense.

  • Loretta Torraville
    February 08, 2014 - 08:14

    Mr.Byrnes is absolutely right . It's bad enough that we here on the Northern peninsula have to travel to Corner Brook (31/2 from Port au Choix )for any kind of advanced testing or treatment let alone taking what can only be called a step backward by not including the most advanced equipment when a new hospital is being built.Accsss to radiation at the very least within that distance is a right not a priveledge.

  • Shirley hicks
    February 08, 2014 - 07:09

    Mr Byrnes,just finished reading your article,every word you spoke is so right,keep up the good work and don't let the west coast be forgotten,,....?