Nanaimo Regional General Hospital. (News Bulletin file)

Nanaimo Regional General Hospital. (News Bulletin file)

Island’s cardiac care gap sparks hard push for major Nanaimo hospital expansion

New patient tower, cardiac services and cancer centre on the wish list for central and north Island

Does Vancouver Island need a full-service hospital north of the Malahat?

A number of elected officials from the area seem to think so.

The Regional District of Nanaimo is expected to ask the province to invest in a major expansion of health-care services at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital.

RDN directors gave unanimous approval to a recommendation asking B.C. Premier John Horgan, health minister Adrian Dix and finance minister Selina Robinson to commit to an improvement plan that includes a new patient tower and diagnostic treatment centre, to be completed in a timeline of five to eight years.

Improvements would include cardiac service and a comprehensive cancer service centre.

Dr. David Coupland, NRGH medical staff president, said programs, funding and facilities have not matched medical need and population growth in the central and north Island over the past 20 years.

Coupland said the population for the north and central regions is estimated at 450,000 — more than the 440,000 in the south Island. The emergency department at NRGH is the busiest on the Island, he said.

Acute care demands will continue to increase based on population and demographics, Coupland said. He detailed a five-year full-service hospital plan and told directors about issues related to care for people suffering from heart issues.

“There’s one big critical care gap that remains for our really sick people and that’s cardiology and a cardiac [catheterization] lab,” said Coupland. “It’s the biggest care gap between central Island and south Island. The logistics of it are often patients with heart attacks and heart disease cannot get the care they need when they need it and there’s more harm and we do have poorer outcomes in central and north Island, there’s no doubt about it.”

Coupland said the area’s population is the largest he knows of without a cardiology/cath lab. Any population over 350,000 needs such facilities, he said, and smaller populations in Europe, the U.S. and Ontario have access to such services.

“The reason for that is you have to get to the cath lab quickly when you have a big heart attack,” said Coupland.

Ed Mayne, Parksville mayor and RDN director, said executing the plan is a huge investment and wondered how the cost would be distributed.

The board will also vote on a recommendation directing the regional hospital district select committee to engage with groups regarding advocacy for capital project funding at NRGH.

The plan has the full support of Island Health’s senior administration, Coupland said.

For more news from Vancouver Island and beyond delivered daily into your inbox, please click here.

RELATED: Tertiary health service would fill gaps, says letter

RELATED: Construction begins on $2.9M NRGH colonoscopy service expansion



reporter@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow Karl on Twitter and Instagram

HospitalsIsland HealthNanaimoNanaimo Regional District

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Police are looking for the driver of this truck after it nearly hit a group of kids in Esquimalt on Thursday. (Photo courtesy of Victoria Police)
Victoria police looking for driver of truck that nearly missed kids before crashing in Esquimalt

The truck’s driver, a man, fled the scene after the truck crashed into a house’s fence

Rainbow trouts thrashing with life as they’re about to be transferred to the largest lake of their lives, even though it’s pretty small. These rainbows have a blue tinge because they matched the blue of their hatchery pen, but soon they’ll take on the green-browns of their new home at Lookout Lake. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
VIDEO: Lookout Lake stocked with hatchery trout to delight of a seniors fishing club

The Cherish Trout Scouts made plans to come back fishing soon

A driver stopped by Saanich police following a road rage incident on April 15 was found to be impaired, in violation of a license restriction and in a damaged vehicle. They received a 90-day driving prohibition and a 30-day vehicle impound. (Saanich Police Traffic Safety Unit/Twitter)
Driver stopped on Pat Bay Highway after road rage reports fails breathalyzer test: police

Several witnesses reported driver to Saanich police, school officer intercepted

Police escorts for Victoria bylaw workers entering encampments in parks will continue for this month, after council approved a $25,000 budget request from VicPD. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria bylaw staff encampment work to include police escort through April

Taxpayers to see modest increase in property taxes for 2021

Victoria’s bylaw restricting businesses from providing most plastic checkout bags came into effect on April 15. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson)
Victoria’s bylaw banning plastic bags back in effect

The bylaw restricts businesses from providing most plastic checkout bags, charges for alternatives

A woman wears a protective face covering to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as she walks past the emergency entrance of Vancouver General Hospital in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Top doctor warns B.C.’s daily cases could reach 3,000 as COVID hospitalizations surge

There are more than 400 people in hospital, with 125 of them in ICU

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: Do you have a plan in place in the event of a tsunami?

Tsunamis have claimed the lives of more than 250,000 people between 1998… Continue reading

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of April 13

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

The District of Sooke will continue to flower with Communities in Bloom. (Pixabay)
Sooke will bud but not bloom in provincial competition

Council scales back participation in Communities in Bloom

An armed officer walks outside Cerwydden Care on Cowichan Lake Road near Skinner Road Wednesday, April 14 around 5:30 p.m. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Police standoff at Duncan apartment ends peacefully

Officers surround building as homeowner held in apartment for nearly four hours by adult son

Latest modelling by public health shows cases generated by COVID-19 infections into places where it can spread quickly. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
Industrial sites, pubs, restaurants driving COVID-19 spread in B.C.

Infection risk higher in offices, retail, warehouses, farms

Hwy. 4 was shut down in both directions for 10 hours on March 23 as a rock bluff was blasted as part of Kennedy Hill’s ongoing construction. Commuters can expect five more 10 hour closures on five consecutive Wednesdays beginning April 28. (Photo courtesy of Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure)
Five 10-hour Pacific Rim highway closures planned in the next 6 weeks

Closures needed for rock blasting as part of the Kennedy Hill Safety Improvement project.

Bulldogs forward Stephen Castagna flips the puck into the Clippers zone during a game on Oct. 24. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Island BCHL game postponed due to ‘potential positive’ COVID-19 test

Nanaimo Clippers team suspends activities, players isolating pending further test results

Most Read