Gabriola Island had a similar challenge. They decided to build a community health centre.
Gabriola’s Community Health Centre has been a great success. But in the beginning, there were skeptics. Some Gabriola residents asked, “What if you build it and people continue to use their primary care services off island? Will it make a difference to our health care?” Before their clinic was built only a small percentage of Gabriola residents got their care on island. Once it was up and running, 87% of residents obtained their primary and urgent care on island.
Not only did the centre provide healthcare improvements for residents, it also had a positive economic impact. “There was an immediate impact on the emergency room in Nanaimo. There were estimates that as many as 90 percent of visits to the Nanaimo Regional Hospital had been unnecessary and that we were saving more than $200,000 year – as well as lives.”
A health centre on Bowen is no small undertaking, but we are determined to make this dream a reality. This project addresses a fundamental need and it is something that people on Bowen clearly want. Working together, we will make it happen — and we have already begun to rise to the challenge.