Hospi­tal in ‘stronger state,’ says vice-pres­i­dent

Prov­ince com­mits an­other $1.3 mil­lion for equip­ment, re­pairs and ren­o­va­tions

The Compass - - OPINION - BY TERRY ROBERTS THE COM­PASS

The long­time vice-pres­i­dent of cor­po­rate af­fairs at the Car­boner Gen­eral Hospi­tal, Ge­orge Butt, said the eight-storey health in­sti­tu­tion is in a “much stronger state” these days be­cause of sig­nif­i­cantly greater in­vest­ments into ar­eas such as equip­ment, re­pairs and ren­o­va­tions.

Butt made the com­ment on Wed­nes­day, Oct. 17, dur­ing an event that saw Health and Community Ser­vices Min­is­ter Su­san Sul­li­van an­nounce an­other $1.3 mil­lion in fund­ing for the hospi­tal.

He noted that dur­ing much of the 1990s, the cap­i­tal bud­get for all health care fa­cil­i­ties in places such as Car­bon­ear, Pla­cen­tia, Whit­bourne and Old Per­li­can was roughly $300,000.

“It was a tough slug,” Butt re­called. “But we’re in a dif­fer­ent place now, for sure.”

In con­trast, the hospi­tal site is bustling with ac­tiv­ity these days.

A new 250-bed long-term care fa­cil­ity is sched­uled for com­ple­tion in late 2014 at a cost of more than $100 mil­lion, and plenty of up­grades are un­der­way inside the hospi­tal.

“This will strengthen both ac­cess to and the qual­ity of care we pro­vide to our pa­tients,” Butt said of the most re­cent fund­ing an­nounce­ment.

Here’s a break­down of where the new money will be spent.

• The hospi­tal will re­ceive $830,000 for new and on­go­ing ren­o­va­tion projects and up­grades. This fund­ing will be used to:

1. continue re­place­ment of the air han­dling unit;

2. continue the ex­ten­sion of the med­i­cal gas de­liv­ery sys­tem; and, 3. ex­pand the phar­macy space. Butt de­scribed the cur­rent situ- ation in the phar­macy as a “ma­jor staff safety is­sue.”

• The hospi­tal will also ben­e­fit from $458,400 for new equip­ment, in­clud­ing: 1. oper­at­ing room microscope; 2. pa­tient con­trolled pain reg­u­la­tion pumps; 3. bed re­place­ments; and, 4. two ears, nose and throat scopes.

The Har­bour Lodge Nurs­ing Home will also re­ceive $8,000 for a bed lift sys­tem.

In mak­ing the an­nounce­ment, Min­is­ter Sul­li­van em­pha­sized that the prov­ince is striv­ing to find ways to be more ef­fi­cient and ef­fec­tive in the de­liv­ery of health care and other ser­vices.

She noted that 40 per cent of the prov­ince’s over­all bud­get, some $3 bil­lion, is spent on health care.

“We can’t ex­pect more than 40 per cent of the bud­get for health care,” she said. “Right now, we are spend­ing $5,077 per per­son on health care.

“That’s not sus­tain­able. We have to find a way to do it bet­ter and de­liver and same qual­ity ser­vices that we al­ways have.”

In the nine years since the Pro­gres­sive Con­ser­va­tive party have been lead­ing the gov­ern­ment, she noted that some $20 mil­lion have been in­vested into health care fa­cil­i­ties in Car­bon­ear. An­other $23 mil­lion was al­lot­ted this year to continue con- struc­tion on the new long-term care cen­tre.

She ref­er­enced a long list of in­vest­ments into health care fa­cil­i­ties and ser­vices throughout the prov­ince, but added, “we have to make sure that from now on and into the fu­ture we get the max­i­mum ben­e­fit from ev­ery dol­lar spent in this prov­ince.”

She also pointed to the on­go­ing de­bate over the Muskrat Falls hy­dro­elec­tric project in Labrador, de­scrib­ing it as “the proj- ect that helps us to de­liver the kind of care in terms of health care that we want.”

Mean­while, Car­bon­ear-Har­bour Grace Jerome Kennedy also wel­comed the an­nounce­ment, say­ing, “As a gov­ern­ment we rec­og­nize the im­por­tance of keep­ing ser­vices closer to home and these ini­tia­tives will help to im­prove the qual­ity of health care for res­i­dents all over the area.”

ed­i­tor@cb­n­com­pass.ca

Photo by Terry Roberts/the Com­pass

Shown here tak­ing part in a fund­ing an­nounce­ment at the Car­bon­ear Gen­eral Hospi­tal on Wed­nes­day, Oct. 17 are, from left, Ge­orge Butt, vice-pres­i­dent of cor­po­rate af­fairs at the hospi­tal; Car­bon­ear Deputy Mayor Ches Ash; Health and Community Ser­vices Min­is­ter Su­san Sul­li­van; Car­bon­ear-Har­bour Grace MHA Jerome Kennedy; and med­i­cal doc­tors David Open­shaw, Peggy Tut­tle, Bob Fowler and Gary Baker.

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