Interior Health CEO tours hospital

Dr. Robert Halpenny talks ICU construction, physician recruitment and retention

  • Sep. 11, 2014 3:00 p.m.

On time and on budget.

That’s the message from Interior Health Authority CEO Dr. Robert Halpenny regarding the East Kootenay Regional Hospital’s Intensive Care Unit expansion.

The $20 million dollar project won’t open until 2016, but Halpenny is encouraged by the progress.

“It’s nice to see the new site being built here,” said Halpenny. “It helps to actually see it. It helps to walk around the facilities and understand what the physical restraints are and constraints.

“…We’re on time, on budget. Again, that was one of the things many years ago, it was on our capital budget and we came and did our tour and you could see something on paper, but when you see it in real life, it sprang to life.

We’re really happy with where it’s going and I think the addition of the electrical update is just as important as well.”

Halpenny was in town on Wednesday for an annual tour of IH facilities, a chance to meet with local doctors, IH staff and community leaders to identify and tackle issues.

“We’ve centralized services so very often people have to come to our sites, but with that centralization has come a lot more stability and quality, so transportation is an issue we hear about frequently,” Halpenny said.

“The next thing we hear about is physician recruitment and retention and specifically in the very, very rural areas. I know this community went through a tough summer with some family physicians leaving—compare that to a community like Princeton, where at one time they had four doctors and are now down to one. So very often we will look at putting our priorities where the needs are the greatest for physician recruitment.

“It’s not only physician recruitment, it’s retention. Once we recruit someone, how do we make sure we keep them here, and that’s giving them working conditions that they look forward to and physical surroundings that are appropriate.”

Cranbrook hasn’t been insulated from the physician shortage, something Halpenny described as a national and international problem. There are roughly 33 family physicians in Cranbrook and the IHA is working hand-in-hand with local politicians to entice and keep more family doctors in the area, Halpenny added.

“We’re engaging the Divisions of Family Practice, IH is involved and the community is involved to participate in the recruitment. It’s important that we engage the community, because it’s really important when people [physicians] come to a community and spend some time, that they don’t just walk around a hospital.

“I think in the past, we didn’t pay enough attention to, if someone’s coming and they have a spouse, what’s that person going to do? If they have children, are there educational opportunities here, how do we put our best foot forward?”

Transportation and access to specialist services are a few other challenges that patients face in rural communities, however, technology is helping to solve some of those problems.

“In health, we either do things to people or we move information. The tele-health initiatives are really helping people stay in their homes or their community while getting the services that they wouldn’t have had access to in the past,” Halpenny said.

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

Just Posted

Dr. Albert de Villiers, Chief Medical Health Officer for the Interior Health Authority. (Contributed)
‘People need to start listening’: IH top doc combats COVID-19 misconceptions

Dr. Albert de Villiers says light at the end of the tunnel will grow in step with people’s adherence to PHO guidance

(File)
One death and 82 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

1,981 total cases, 609 are active and those individuals are on isolation

Jim Webster displays one of the 50 ski chairs he recently purchased from the Resorts of the Canadian Rockies (RCR). After around 50 years of use at the Kimberley Alpine Resort, Webster is now selling the chairs for $500 each to raise funds for a local parks project. Paul Rodgers photo.
Jim Webster sells vintage Kimberley Alpine Resort ski chairs for park fundraiser

Marysville resident Jim Webster recently came into possession of some Kimberley history;… Continue reading

Stock photo courtesy Cliff MacArthur/provincialcourt.bc.ca.
Double-murder trial in case of Cranbrook couple killed adjourned until January

A trial has been adjourned until January for two men charged with… Continue reading

Cranbrook Community Theatre (CCT) is presenting virtual visits and live letter readings with Santa, from Friday, Dec. 11, to Sunday, Dec. 13. Photo contributed
Cranbrook Community Theatre hosts Santa’s virtual visits and letter readings

Despite the restrictions imposed by the pandemic, Santa Claus is at large… Continue reading

Motorists wait to enter a Fraser Health COVID-19 testing facility, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, Nov. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Another 694 diagnosed with COVID-19 in B.C. Thursday

Three more health care outbreaks, 12 deaths

Good Samaritan Mountainview Village located at 1540 KLO Road in Kelowna. (Good Samaritan Society)
First long-term care resident dies from COVID-19 in Interior Health

Man in his 80s dies following virus outbreak at Mountainview Village

A demonstrator wears representations of sea lice outside the Fisheries and Oceans Canada offices in downtown Vancouver Sept. 24, demanding more action on the Cohen Commission recommendations to protect wild Fraser River sockeye. (Quinn Bender photo)
First Nations renew call to revoke salmon farm licences

Leadership council implores use of precautionary principle in Discovery Islands

Ten-month-old Aidan Deschamps poses for a photo with his parents Amanda Sully and Adam Deschamps in this undated handout photo. Ten-month-old Aidan Deschamps was the first baby in Canada to be diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy through Ontario’s newborn screening program. The test was added to the program six days before he was born. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Children’s Hospital Eastern Ontario *MANDATORY CREDIT*
First newborn tested for spinal muscular atrophy in Canada hits new milestones

‘If Aidan had been born any earlier or anywhere else our story would be quite different’

Amanda Weber-Roy, conservation specialist for BC Parks in the Kootenays. Photo: Bill Metcalfe
VIDEO: Kootenay youth climate group works to protect Nelson’s water supply

Youth Climate Corps members spent five weeks thinning forest in West Arm Park

(Pixabay)
Canadians’ mental health has deteriorated with the second wave, study finds

Increased substance use one of the ways people are coping

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Most Read