Dear editor: The recent news about the plan of ophthalmologist Dr. Justin French to establish a clinic in Corner Brook to perform cataract surgery seems to be a good one.
Corner Brook is the capital of the west coast of Newfoundland and hundreds of cataract operations have been performed here — a distinct advantage to west coast residents who have had the surgery here, and to many more who will require it in the future.
Dr. French has an excellent reputation locally — and probably also provincially and even nationally — for his work.
As one of three surgeons in that particular field of ophthalmology, it is unquestionably a benefit to residents of the west coast and also a large part of Labrador, providing an important and much-needed service to this region of the province because of its closeness and convenience to patients who otherwise would have to travel much greater distances from home for the same service, thus saving considerable expense to them and to our financially strapped MCP, an important factor in this present time of scarce provincial government funding not only for medical services but for everything else.
It is good to know that the talks which had recently broken down are to be resumed. Hopefully, there will be a positive outcome this time.
Establishing such a service is not a small financial consideration and we, the public know, relatively little of the financial issues involved, but Dr. French has stated that he is prepared to accept at least some of the financing at his own responsibility.
Our provincial government should be prepared to give the plan much greater serious consideration than has already been accorded to it.
A professional medical service such as the one Dr. French has proposed in Corner Brook, along with the planned new regional hospital facility, would be wonderful innovation. Corner Brook is already a major centre of education with Grenfell College campus of Memorial University and the Corner Brook Campus of the College of the North Atlantic.
The addition of a modern medical facility such as Dr. French envisages could provide a much-needed boost for the stagnant local economy. Who knows, but such an institution opening in Corner Brook may well attract medical personnel and patients from other parts of Canada in future years, since Dr. French is not only a very competent person in his chosen field, but is also a local man who obviously wishes to make a strong contribution to his community. But if his proposal is declined by the province’s health service, this energetic young professional has hinted that he will be looking for greater opportunities elsewhere. No one can blame him for that.
Corner Brook does not have a great reputation for innovation, but the realization of this proposal by Dr. French could become the catalyst marking the beginning of a change encouraging the return of other enterprises that have closed down or moved away in recent years.
Every possible effort should be made by local individuals to encourage this medical specialist who has the will, courage and imagination to begin and to succeed in this innovative state-of-the-art project.
It will not be an easy task, but our provincial government, the City of Corner Brook, and the people of our West Coast communities should make all reasonable efforts towards its realization.
Stick to your guns, Dr. French, and we wish you every success.
Stuart Harvey, Lark Harbour