Doctors call for $300M upgrade to Penticton Regional Hospital

Doctors in Penticton, B.C. say the local hospital is over capacity and a major crisis is looming until the facility gets much-needed upgrades.

Penticton Medical Society says the hospital is outdated and over capacity

The Penticton Regional Hospital was built in 1951 to serve a population of 10,000 people and now serves a population of 90,000. (Courtesy David Paisley)

Doctors in Penticton, B.C. say the local hospital is overcrowded and a major crisis is looming until the facility gets much-needed upgrades.

Dr. David Paisley, president of the Penticton Medical Society, said the 62-year-old hospital is running at, and sometimes beyond capacity.

"We're on the cusp of a crisis here, and we need the government to fulfill promises made a decade ago to deal with massive overcrowding and out-dated facilities," Paisley said in a written statement.

Paisley said the Penticton Regional Hospital was built in 1951 to serve a population of 10,000 people and now the same hospital is serving a population of 90,000 people.

"The hospital administration has been doing more 'nip and tuck' than a busy Hollywood plastic surgeon to ensure quality of care; however, there is only so much that one can do with the physical constraints of the building," he said.

Interior Health has put a $300 million proposal for a new tower and other upgrades to the B.C. Ministry of Health, but Paisley said it has gone unfulfilled even though lower-priority projects at other hospitals have gone ahead.

Paisley said hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent upgrading hospitals in Kamloops, Vernon and Kelowna, but Penticton's hospital continues to crumble.

Paisley said doctors, surgeons and specialists fear major problems are looming in Penticton, and the hospital needs the new space for patient care immediately.

"It's time the provincial government follow through on plans for construction of a new patient care tower," he said.

Doctors with the Penticton Regional Hospital and the Penticton Medical Society are hosting a public meeting Wednesday night in the Okanagan city's convention center to raise public support for major hospital updating and expansion.

The public meeting will be held at the Penticton Trade and Convention Center at 237 Power Street starting at 6:30 pm PT.