Retaining services

The “shop locally” message, long used to promote local businesses, has now extended to medical services.

The “shop locally” message, long used to promote local businesses, has now extended to medical services.

Last week, the Okanagan Similkameen Medical Foundation announced it would offer a drop-in x-ray service in Summerland on a trial basis this spring and summer.

The Summerland Health Centre has had an x-ray service in place for many years, but in the past it was by appointment only.

Adding drop-in hours may make the facility more attractive for Summerlanders who need the service.

While the medical foundation promotes the drop-in service as a benefit to the community, it should be noted that a drop-in service would not be considered if there was greater use of Summerland’s x-ray equipment.

Put simply, Summerland’s x-ray service is not busy enough.

If the use is too low, there will be questions about why an x-ray department is in place in Summerland.

Losing this facility would be an inconvenience for many, since it would involve an out-of-town trip for a procedure now offered locally.

Summerland’s x-ray department was not always this quiet.

Before 2002, when Summerland still had a general hospital instead of a health centre, the x-ray department was needed and it was well used.

In the years following the hospital closure, the facility has taken on a new life as a centre which provides day surgeries.

Over the next several months, the drop-in service will provide an opportunity for Summerlanders to show whether the x-ray service is still needed in the community.

The drop-in option should not be seen as an expansion of a service. Rather, it is a test to see if a Summerland-based x-ray department still makes sense.