Interior Health reminded Royal Inland needs specialty

The Thompson Regional Hospital District board made another push Thursday to get Royal Inland a big injection of cash for specialized services.

Interior Health vice-president of tertiary services Joanne Konnert acknowledged a lot more capital spending has gone into Okanagan hospitals in the last few years than into RIH.

"Your political folks are keeping this front and centre," she said in meeting with the board.

Using figures provided by Konnert, Kamloops director Peter Milobar tallied almost $1 billion is being spent on huge projects in the Okanagan while $11 million is coming to Kamloops for a central sterilization unit "that should have been replaced years ago."

While Konnert's presentation included a graph that projected a dramatic shrinkage of capital funding in the next few years, the mayor didn't let that dampen his view that Kamloops should get an investment of $250 million.

"We'll be pleased if and when we see some large stuff," he said.

But before any big spending is done or any services expanded, the master site plan has to be completed, Konnert said.

The master site plan is expected to go to the steering committee in February, 2011 and out for the public a few months later.

The goal of the master site plan is to have a guide for the next five, 10 and 15 years that's achievable, said Jackie-Ellen Watson, director of planning, capital planning and projects for IHA.

A similar plan was required for Kelowna General when that hospital was eyed for a cardiac program, she said.

Milobar said if a master site plan is required, Interior Health should have started years ago on a plan for Kamloops.

Director John Harwood, who sat on the hospital board 40 years ago, said RIH has been cut and pasted together piecemeal over the decades.

He suggested it would be cheaper to build an entirely new facility in a different location.

Watson said that idea has been raised. But IHA is still in the stages of looking at working with what it has.

RIH is being considered as a centre for excellence in some of the programs it currently provides, Watson said. Those include trauma, rehab and neonatal.

Konnert said the areas of excellence could also include tertiary mental health, trauma with emergency, surgery and rehab services, perinatal, stroke care or voice recognition in diagnostics.

She did have good news for the hospital district board. Interior Health is running a surplus, which means $1.6 million extra going to Royal Inland this year.

© Copyright 2018 Kamloops Daily News