All three PC leadership candidates committed to radiation therapy in new hospital

Cory Hurley cory.hurley@tc.tc
Published on July 28, 2014
The site for the new regional hospital in Corner Brook is shown in this undated photo. — Star file photo

No matter who the next premier of Newfoundland and Labrador is, plans for a radiation therapy unit and a PET scanner remain the same for the new regional hospital in Corner Brook.

After intense public lobbying throughout the western region and various forms of research were conducted, the commitment came from government to include the radiation unit in the hospital plans. Whether there will be one bunker or two in the radiation unit is still to be determined. If a PET scanner is still the equipment of choice in this field at the time of opening, the facility will accommodate it.

Then premier-designate Frank Coleman committed to this during his campaign. Current Premier Tom Marshall backed that promise.

Now, PC Leadership candidates Steve Kent, John Ottenheimer, and Paul Davis are standing firm on those commitments.

Kent said he would “absolutely” honour the commitments that have been made. He said it is important that the western region receives a state-of-the-art facility for years to come. That means meeting all the medical needs as possible of the people, according to the leadership hopeful who represents the people of Mount Pearl North in the House of Assembly.

“I think the expanded services makes good sense to serve the entire western part of our province,” he said. “People shouldn’t have to go to St. John’s for those services.”

Ottenheimer said when he met with both Humber East and Humber West PC Associations last week this issue came up. He is standing behind the commitment already made.

“I can say unequivocally that I will honour all decisions,”he said. “These have been made by government, and I will respect those decisions fully.”

The former member for St. John’s East said he has no plans to revisit this decision that was given a lot of consideration and debate.

Paul Davis, who was health minister prior to announcing his run at leadership, had already gave his commitment to radiation therapy and a PET scanner while in Corner Brook in June. Last week, he once again, re-affirmed that commitment.

The member for Topsail said undergoing cancer treatment is a challenge for patients and their families, and only one centre for radiation therapy in the province poses a significant challenge.

“There is a significant amount of value for people to be able to stay closer to home, when possible, while undergoing such treatment,” he said.