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.