A TELKWA village councillor has joined the call for a new Mills Memorial Hospital.
Brad Layton, who also sits on the North West Regional Hospital District which would finance 40 per cent of construction, criticized the provincial government’s refusal so far to conduct a detailed plan for a new Mills.
“Our provincial government is basically telling us they don’t care about us,” said Layton at a Telkwa council meeting.
“Sure, hospitals are needed around the province, but with (all the) expansion (underway) in the northwest we have a 1959 hospital (in Terrace) trying to do things they have never done before.”
Layton said Mills Memorial Hospital has become a regional hub with 21 specialists and an oncology department.
“They are treating people in substandard conditions because they need to do it,” he said. “There is no division between patients so there (are risks for) spilling of radioactive materials, contaminations and injuries.”
Other issues include having to navigate difficult routes to get patients to surgery, having to take people in wheelchairs to the public washrooms on the main floor and elevators too small for modern stretchers.
“This is the hospital that is becoming our regional centre. This is where they want to put the trauma centre for our areas instead of sending people to Vancouver, so area people would go to Terrace instead of the Lower Mainland,” said Layton.
“But the province’s response is that we have not put it on our capital costs for the future for at least the next 15 years. It always takes at least five years to plan something. So we are looking at 20 to 25 to about 30 years before we get a hospital in the northwest.”
“If we have to wait 15 years before it is even on the books to look at it, that is not acceptable,” said Layton.
With files from The Interior News, Smithers, B.C.