Why you need to speak up about Corner Brook Hospital

Rudy Norman
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There's no big secret that when it comes to a lot of issues - like spending a lot of money, or committing potential political suicide - government - no matter what stripe, likes to drag its feet.
Unless, of course, we're talking about Muskrat Falls - that apparently is left out of every political equation there is, and seems to be going ahead no matter what.

However, when it comes to dragging feet, perhaps no other issue has been the victim more than the alleged new hospital in Corner Brook.

Yes, alleged, because that seems to be the point we've reached with this.

Now, rather than taking the time to go through the history of how we got here, pretty much all you need to know is this project has seen many phases, stages, changes, trials, tribulations, and far too few triumphs.

Government promised a new hospital for the Western City (and the only one outside the overpass, don't forget) and have pretty much done very little since, other than complain and bicker over redesigns, money, and other things one would hope were thought of before the commitment was made to build the thing in the first place.

Most recently, the controversy has been around a device called a PET scanner. Government says the new hospital doesn't need one - other people say it does.

Susan Sullivan, the minister of health and community services, has spoken out about the issue on more than one occasion, trying to discredit what her adversaries are saying about the issue.

Sullivan's reasoning behind the fact that Corner Brook doesn't need a PET scanner is that there's already one in St. John's. According to Sullivan, the World Health Organization says that a PET scanner is needed for every one million people. Since we only have 500,000 souls, or there-about, then the PET thing sitting out east is sufficient.

Now, overlooking the fact that the statement from the WHO are 'recommendations,' what Sullivan fails to realize is that it's quite possible when the WHO wrote that recommendation, they were thinking about a PET Scanner placed in a hospital in, say, Ottawa, Ont. - population approximately one million, or so, and where a trip to lovely, potentially life-saving technology is short, not the 10 hours it takes to beat from Corner Brook to St. John's.

It's logic like this that really makes the provincial government seem out of touch with the province they're supposedly running.

Saying you're trying to save money is one thing, but saying you're saving it because the same services are available a half-day journey away is another.

Yes, roughly about half the population of the province lives on the Avalon Peninsula - but there's also another half that could really benefit with state-of-the-art technology, in a state-of-the-art hospital, in a region of the province that doesn't require two nights in a hotel room to visit.

Here's the thing - opposition MHAs can only do so much. Pundits can only do so much. The media, even, can only do so much. It's you, dear reader, that needs to speak up.

Bad decisions are one thing. Bad decisions that affect our health and safety, is a horse of another colour.

Organizations: Corner Brook Hospital, World Health Organization, Sullivan's

Geographic location: Corner Brook, St. John's, Western Ottawa, Ont Avalon Peninsula

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