Expansion considered for hospital

At some point in the near future you may be hearing more about a proposed expansion to the Penticton Regional Hospital.

More specifically this potential project is known as the Ambulatory Care Centre.

As many of you are aware, advances in health care technology mean that many surgical procedures can now be in completed in a much shorter time frame then was possible in the past.

Day surgeries, as they are often called, along with the potential for a variety of different clinics and treatments for wound care, casts, pediatrics, maternity and pre-surgical screening are just a few examples of the benefits of what can be accomplished in ambulatory care.

Not only is it cost effective to minimize hospital stay time, many patients prefer to recover in the comforts of their own home where there is also a minimum exposure to outbreaks and other viral infections that can be found in the hospital environment.

Currently in the Penticton Regional Hospital there is a lack of space for Ambulatory Care as often the needs for the Emergency Room can overflow, literally, and disrupt ambulatory care.

When this occurs day surgeries, and other elective surgeries can be canceled thus creating a cascading effect throughout the medical community and also potentially increasing the wait time for patients who may be in pain and in discomfort.

Clearly the need for an expanded Ambulatory Care Center in Penticton is an important one and I would like to recognize the efforts of the Okanagan-Similkameen Regional Hospital District, in particular the Chair Walter Despot and Interior Health staff members for their diligent work on this matter.

Obviously this project would not be inexpensive and it should not be overlooked that the Government monies collected from the Harmonized Sales Tax are indeed used towards providing health care in British Columbia. In fact even with the HST collected and your monthly MSP Premiums collected there is still a healthcare related funding shortfall that must be made up from other government revenue sources.

On the same theme of the HST there is a new website that has been introduced to help provide answers and information to many commonly asked HST related questions.

For further information please visit the new HST website at www.hstinbc.ca or contact my office.

On a different topic, riders of Penticton transit will note this week that new, electronic fare boxes are now being used on city busses.

Penticton will join Chilliwack, Vernon, Powell River, Cranbrook, Nelson and the Sunshine Coast in using this new Canadian manufactured system.

The data collected from the new electronic system can be used to help streamline and improve future transit service changes.

For more information on this new system please visit the www.bctransit.com website.

And finally this week a thank you to all of the Penticton Vees fans who donated over 2,000 lbs. of food in support of the Feed the Valley program.

The next Feed the Valley event with the Penticton Vees is Friday, Feb. 18 with game time at 7 p.m.

Bill Barisoff is the MLA for Penticton.