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North Island hospital plans draw mixed response

The Vancouver Island Health Authority last week promised new hospitals in the Comox Valley and Campbell River. The announcement drew mixed reviews.

As reported in the Campbell River Mirror, VIHA CEO Howard Waldner said both communities would get new facilities and more beds.

Local healthcare professionals and politicians were cautiously pleased. Dr. Aref Tabarsi, speaking for the Campbell River Medical Staff, said: “It’s a move in the right direction, but there are a lot of concerns.”

Campbell River mayor Charlie Cornfield was also cautious: “VIHA’s proposal is one that we are going to have to look at carefully,” he said. “There are many questions to be asked and answered yet and this is a good starting point.”

Waldner made an “optimistic guess” that construction might start on the new hospitals within three to five years.

The report said nothing about the 245-kilometre drive down Highway 19 from Port Hardy to Campbell River, which North Islanders must take to reach specialized medical care.

Crawford Kilian is a contributing editor of The Tyee.

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