Dear Editor: I would like to respond to the editorial which was published in The Western Star on Monday, Dec. 2.
It was concerning the proposed new regional hospital in Corner Brook and how the Liberals will try and implement a new plan if elected in 2015, which would be going back to square one, delaying the start of construction.
I have been very vocal in the local media, on call-in shows, and in the House of Assembly, that this new hospital should have expanded diagnostic equipment, such as a radiation unit and a PET scanner. The residents of western Newfoundland, the Northern Peninsula and Labrador deserve these services.
Health Minister Susan Sullivan stated that she has not received any calls wanting a radiation unit or PET scanner in this new facility, so it is not a priority.
If I don’t inform the residents affected that these pieces of equipment are not, and will not be included in the design stage, I would not be performing my duty as the MHA for the Bay of Islands.
The new regional hospital was announced in 2007 with anticipated opening last year in 2012. Currently, this hospital is still in the design stage, which the engineering report by Stantec says will take up to two years to complete by 2015. Based on this estimate, completion of construction of the hospital would be in 2021.
This is why I’m raising the alarm. These patient services are not included in the hospital design, which the Dunderdale government publicly stated. Now is the time to have the suggested patient services included in the design of the new hospital.
In the report by Stantec the estimated cost of the hospital was $1 billion, as stated by the consultants and the Department of Transportation and Works. Now, the estimated cost for the hospital is $600 million. What has been reduced and what new patient services are not being considered?
In closing, I am not suggesting starting over on this project, but a new hospital for the west coast is still only in the design stage, and I am trying to implement change early on.
I am not suggesting, nor have I ever suggested going back to square one. It would be too costly, but there is time to make this facility the best possible.
This is why I am trying to have diagnostic equipment like the radiation unit and PET scanner included in the design stage.
The residents of western Newfoundland, the Northern Peninsula and Labrador deserve the best possible hospital.
Eddie Joyce, MHA, Bay of Islands