Government cites long list in response to call for hospital

Health Minister Terry Lake acknowledges Terrace, B.C. hospital "could benefit from redevelopment," but cites long list of projects.

Health Minister Terry Lake responds to local push for hospital.

Dear Sir:

I am writing in response to the open letter “City urged to keep up push for new Mills hospital” which was published online on Oct. 30 and then in the print edition of the The Terrace Standard on Nov. 2.

Since 1961, the Mills Memorial Hospital has been providing outstanding medical care for British Columbians in the North.

Finance minister Mike De Jong and I have toured the hospital and seen first-hand the excellent care being provided to patients. The premier also recently met with local officials to discuss the future of the hospital.

Government agrees the hospital would benefit from a redevelopment; however a decision like this isn’t something that is taken lightly. We have a duty to British Columbians to consider all capital projects in the context of B.C.’s entire health system.

That is why these projects take a series of careful planning steps – including identifying capital funding sources from the province, regional hospital district and foundation, and other sources.

These planning steps ensure that the new facility will be designed and built to serve the community for many years to come.

Since 2001, our government has made $10 million in upgrades to the Mills Memorial Hospital to improve patient care. That significant investment helped complete upgrades to the hospital’s emergency room, intensive care unit, CT scanner, renal unit and the psychiatric unit.

Work is also underway to install a new MRI at Mills Memorial Hospital to help improve access to medical imaging technology in northern BC, and to replace the existing  mammography machine with a new digital unit that will deliver more sensitive images with less discomfort for the patient.

Improving rural health care is part of our government’s overall health strategy, and we continue to work with Northern Health to ensure British Columbians in that part of the province have access to the care and services they need.

Terry Lake

Minister of Health,

Victoria, B.C.