Below is a letter I sent to the Provincial Health Minister Adrian Dix in support of the proposed Urgent Health Care Centre for West Kelowna. As the population of the Okanagan Valley grows so does the traffic congestion we all experience in trying to get around for our personal business and pleasure. When your in the back of an ambulance headed for a hospital traffic delays can be very costly so a center closer than KGH without the bridge trip could make the difference between a successful outcome for you and/or your loved ones … or not. Short of helicopter responses we need a facility closer to the population in need and this West Kelowna Urgent Care Center is a large part of the solution to a shorter response for those in need.
May 25 2018
Honourable Minister Adrian Dix
Minister of Health
P.O. Box 9050, Stn. Prov. Gov’t
Victoria, B.C. V8W 9M6
Dear Minister Dix,
The Electoral Area of Central Okanagan West would like to add its voice in support of the lobbying efforts directed at the Provincial Government by Peachland and West Kelowna to locate an urgent care centre in the City of West Kelowna.
The demographics of Electoral Area West are similar to these two neighboring municipalities with possibly an even larger percentage of aging residents and young families with children. Travel time from the extremities of the electoral area to a health care facility are challenging at the best of times. In an emergency the distance and time down Westside Road, across the bridge and through highway traffic; where one accident sends the entire transportation corridor into paralysis make this trip extremely challenging and time consuming. Savings in travel time for this group of residents between Kelowna and West Kelowna could quite literally be life altering and make the difference to the delivery of health care within the “golden hour” or not. The West Kelowna option could save my residents up to 30 minutes travel time that on an average traffic day, to an hour or more on a bad traffic day. This delay could be caused by as little as one minor accident on the Okanagan Lake Bridge.
The growth on the West Side has been substantial in the last few years and continues to grow at a rate far beyond most communities in Canada. The Okanagan Valley is a premier retirement spot for the elderly and the population growth we are experiencing will only continue over time whereas the traffic congestion on the one connecting corridor for these communities remains stagnant and travel and response times for emergency vehicles will continue to grow. This traffic situation has and will continue to make the trip to Kelowna General Hospital longer and eventually unacceptable as an acceptable emergency health facility due to time constraints upon patient delivery. Currently due to time and distance a large portion of Electoral Area West situated in the north is currently using health care facilities in Vernon. The Kelowna option would add 30 – 60 minutes to the travel time to a health care facility whereas the West Kelowna Urgent Care Center would mitigate this time frame for a percentage of this area providing patients with a more timely outcome.
Building an Emergency Care Center in West Kelowna would in my opinion provide the most timely health care result for the 40 or 50 thousand residents and tax payers that live on the west side of the Okanagan Lake Bridge. As a former fire chief to one of these more remote communities it is my opinion that anything that gets the patient to a health care facility faster is a good thing for all concerned. There is no doubt that this facility in West Kelowna would accomplish the goal of early patient treatment, which I believe, is the objective of the Emergency Health Care System.
Thank you for your attention to this matter.
Central Okanagan West
Regional District of the Central Okanagan