MHA surprised government studying radiation therapy for Corner Brook

James McLeod
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Liberal MHA Eddie Joyce sounded incredulous in the House of Assembly at the very idea of government studying options for cancer care at a new hospital in Corner Brook.

“I mean, that is astonishing,” Joyce said during question period. “You made a decision not to have a radiation unit or PET scanner, but because of public pressure now you are going to do a study. That is unbelievable, Mr. Speaker.”

As it happens, Joyce has been the loudest, most dogged voice speaking about the hospital in Corner Brook for more than two years, and the Liberal party has already promised that if it forms the government, it will put a PET scanner in the new Corner Brook hospital.

Nonetheless, Joyce was in full swing Tuesday, going after the government for changing its mind about the Corner Brook hospital.

“The minister of health stated in this House on Dec. 9 that we will not be providing radiation services at Western Memorial Regional Hospital. The PC leadership candidate says he supports a radiation unit for the new hospital,” Joyce said. “I ask the premier: does your government stand by the statements of your minister, or the PC candidate?”

Premier Tom Marshall — who like Joyce, is also from Corner Brook — said the government is just studying it, and looking at various treatment models which could possibly see radiation services provided in Corner Brook.

“We are going to have a study done, but the study will just not include Western (Health); the study will include the whole province of Newfoundland and Labrador,” Marshall said. “The terms of reference have not been set yet, but it is a study to determine if we can adopt what is a referred to as a hub and spoke model, a different model than the national model that is being used in the country today. When that work is done it will be announced, and yes, when the reports are completed we will be happy to share them with the Opposition and the people of the province.”

As Joyce referenced, both candidates running for the leadership of the PC party have talked about cancer care at the Corner Brook hospital.

On Monday, presumed frontrunner Frank Coleman issued a news release saying that radiation treatment needs to be added in Corner Brook, and the PET scanner the Liberals are promising should be studied, too.

“I believe that having access to radiation therapy closer to home is the right option for the people of the western region,” Coleman said. “This would complement the availability of chemotherapy in Corner Brook. As such, I encourage the provincial government to proceed with the review as soon as possible.”

In the legislature, Joyce mostly seemed indignant the government hadn’t already studied the possibility of a radiation unit at the hospital.

Joyce pointed out that the government has been promising a new hospital for years, but it hasn't delivered.

“You are not centrefold for the trust magazine when it comes to the hospital in Corner Brook,” he said. “I can assure you of that.”

But Marshall fired back that if there was a “trust magazine” that was doing a special issue on Corner Brook health care, and if they were looking for a centrefold model, Joyce wouldn't get the job either.

“When the honourable member opposite was in government people wanted an MRI machine. He did not deliver on that,” Marshall said.  “People wanted a new long-term care facility. He did not deliver on that, we did. I think people know who they can trust when it comes to commitments made in health care for the people of Western Newfoundland.”

 (This is a corrected version)

Organizations: PC, Corner Brook hospital, Western Memorial Regional Hospital

Geographic location: Corner Brook, Newfoundland and Labrador, Western Newfoundland

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Recent comments

  • Happily Retired
    April 09, 2014 - 07:40

    Despite what Eddie might want us to believe, this is not like sending a lug wrench out to Corner Book. It's a complex issue. There are currently two PET Scan machines in all of the Atlantic Provinces,(New Brunswick and Nova Scotia) with another getting started in Sty. John's. They have to be staffed with competent people, and there has to be sufficient activity to warrant such a large investment. The Liberals should get somebody who has an ounce of credibility to speak to health care issues. Joyce is in way over his head, and his ridiculous comments are based on pure politics, not on reasonable health care. Ball should also realize, when he gains power, that there's more to running this province than catering to the constant whining from Corner Brook.

  • John Smith
    April 09, 2014 - 06:35

    Well, first of all, I doubt very much that Eddy knows what incredulous means, but more to the point...the world health organization states that one PET scanner per one million people is adequate. However, because of politics the province will soon be saddled with two? The one in CB will be down for most of the week because of a lack of patients, and the staff for it will be next to impossible to find...but hey...we already spend 40% of our total budget on healthcare....3.5 billion a what's a few more hundred billion? We propped up the mill to keep it going, now lets pour more money into that dying area?

  • Scott
    April 09, 2014 - 05:17

    Mr Joyce, As Mr Marshall points out to the people, when the Liberals were in power, they made lots of promise's, that were never follow though with, Now your trying to say, if the Liberals were in, New Hospital complete with every piece of equipment it may need. Mr Joyce your just a hypocrite, playing game's with people life's.