The Primary Urgent Care Centre on Martin Street officially opened on March 31, 2021. (Black Press file photo)

The Primary Urgent Care Centre on Martin Street officially opened on March 31, 2021. (Black Press file photo)

Okanagan hospital district calls for Interior Health to be better communicators

Improved communications sought following earlier funding request

The Okanagan-Similkameen Regional Hospital District Board wants better communication with Interior Health

At the hospital district’s May 20 meeting, the board voted unanimously to ask for the in-camera meeting to discuss communications and funding for primary care facilities in the area.

The request comes following an earlier request for funding from Interior Health.

READ ALSO: Okanagan-Similkameen Regional Hospital District reverses funding decision on care centre

READ ALSO: Funding denied for Penticton primary care facility

Members of the hospital district have not been satisfied with the way the communication process was done with the most recent urgent and primary care centre in the region.

In late March, the expanded urgent and primary care centre on Martin Street in Penticton opened its doors to the public. The centre will help attach patients to regular primary health care providers in the area. The facility is a collaboration between Interior Health, the provincial Ministry of Health, the South Okanagan Similkameen Division of Family Practice, the Martin Street Outreach Centre Association, OneSky Community Resources and local Aboriginal partners.

However, a funding request for the facility was made after the facility had already been opened. The funding request was for the Okanagan-Similkameen Regional Hospital District to commit to funding 40 per cent of the total $2.5 million cost of the facility.

Doug Holmes of Summerland said he would like to know Interior Health’s plans and intent for providing facilities in the region.

Princeton mayor Spencer Coyne echoed the call for better communication from Interior Health. “We have no nothing. We have no plan shared with us,” he said. “Before we move ahead with anything, I want to know what Interior Health’s plan is.”

“I think we need to have another discussion with Interior Health,” said Mark Pendergraft, director for Electoral Area A.

Other board members also believed the meeting is necessary.

“None of these things operate as an isolated island,” Tim Roberts, director for Electoral Area G said, referring to health care decisions.

Riley Gettens, director for Electoral Area F, said there is a need for more doctors within the region, especially in smaller communities. “It’s a crisis across Canada,” she said.

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