Great way to celebrate 65 years at the Penticton Hospital

It is hard to believe that it was over 3 years ago that the community got behind and made a public showing of support to get the Patient Care Tower built. I remember creating a video to help illustrate the need and opportunity for an updated facility. Penticton Regional Hospital was built 1951 for a population base of 10,000 for the needs of the 1950’s. Back then there were only about 5 antibiotics and Penicillin just came to the market.

The Hospital has had some renovations but the old wing from 1951 is still in operation and certainly makes any visit even less enjoyable. As one Doctor put it, “we’ve done more nipping and tucking than a busy Hollywood plastic surgeon to accommodate all of the specialized services we have here.” In Penticton we have all learned to make the most with what we have. With the expansion, not only will we be matching the needs of the day but for well into the future as well.  It is amazing the volume the Hospital generates - over 7700 day surgeries, and 35,000 emergency visits per year. A lot of the credit needs to be given to Hospital staff, doctors, nurses, volunteers and the Medical Foundation and its donors.  Thank You!

This week is the official sod turning and construction start to the $312.5 million dollar Patient Care Tower here in Penticton. Given that it took three years to get where we are today (not to mention the years earlier lobbying the Province by us politicians) waiting until 2019 for the completion of the project will in some ways seem like a long time, but time flies and before we know it the tower will be completed.

We can all grasp the importance of better health and facilities to provide more services and care, but many probably don’t comprehend the magnitude of the economic benefit.  We often use the term ‘economic impact’ and its importance to our community, and certainly $312.5 Million is a big number. Bigger than just a number, the Patient Care Tower, over the next three years will provide construction jobs for many people. People that had been working up north now have a job here in Penticton and best of all can be together as a family. Obviously once the new building is operational there will be some new staff added, medical student training, and hopefully spin off health service businesses, partnerships, or research potentials.

This project is a good example of our community coming together. When we first pitched the need to Interior Health and the Health Minister it was at UBCM (Union of BC Municipalities) meetings where all 18 directors from the Regional Hospital District attended to show the importance for the region. Thank you to MLA Dan Ashton for continuing to push the project and Premier Christy Clark for committing to fund the project and following through. This truly will be the most significant project for not only Penticton but the entire region of the South Okanagan and Similkameen.