Though a request for proposals for 120 long-term care beds closed on May 11, there has been no word from the provincial government on when and where these beds will come to the Comox Valley.
In March of 2018, Island Health issued an RFP for the 120 long-term beds, which would replace the original September 2016 RFP for 70 beds.
“Certainly the process has been a long one, not just for the Valley, but for many communities in British Columbia,” said Premier John Horgan during his visit to the Comox Valley on Saturday. “Adrian Dix, the health minister is working very very hard, to not just bring forward more care beds for seniors, but also building the new hospitals that we need in communities right around the province.”
Horgan added that while beds are important, boosting staff to minimum staffing requirements is also vital.
“The staffing requirement was set by the previous government and they haven’t met it in the past 10 years so that means we need more healthcare providers which means more spaces in our training institutions and that’s part of the problem.”
MLA Ronna-Rae Leonard said there are spaces at North Island College for training healthcare providers for this purpose.
She added that there is no easy solution as the province is currently looking at multiple providers for the long-term care beds. However, she said the increase in the number of proposed beds from 70 to 120 is a huge positive for the community.
“There are challenges in terms of being able to provide service to a diversity of needs and interests and the community isn’t homogenous, so I think it’s sort of an exciting opportunity to have different organizations providing the long-term care,” she said.
Leonard has not heard when the announcement will be coming.
Horgan says with an increase in the number of people needing long-term care and assisted living options, the government is doing the best they can.
“The continuum of healthcare provisions are increasing and the number of people going into it are increasing as well. So we’re doing our level best to meet the demand but it’s only going to get greater in time. So that means greater investements year over year and our budget contains that and is still balanced.”
In a previous article, it was reported that Island Health hoped the new beds would be ready for occupancy in 2020. The original 70-bed RFP had a target date of early summer 2019.