Blog #17 - By DVW - Homes On The Sunshine Coast - Hospital and Medical Care

Posted by Cheyenne Howitt on Thursday, November 10th, 2016 at 12:36pm.

Thinking of moving to the Sunshine Coast? Do you have concerns? Is one of those concerns medical and hospital care? There is little reason for concern. The Sunshine Coast is such a great place to live it has attracted a large group of highly qualified physicians. Should you need to see a specialist in Vancouver, or travel to the city for medical tests or treatments, your ferry expenses for yourself, vehicle, and if necessary a driver, are paid for by the BC Medical plan. In emergencies, there is a helicopter pad adjacent to the Sechelt hospital and there is a helicopter service available in the Sechelt area.

There is a new modern hospital facility in Sechelt that provides the population of the entire lower Sunshine Coast with a 21st Century treatment centre. The population of the Coast has not always been so well served. Prior to 1929, the residents did not have a hospital. In addition to the needs of the local population there was a desperate need to provide hospital service for injured workers in the logging camps further up the coast. In those days, serious injuries during logging operations were not uncommon. Water transportation was the only means of getting injured loggers to hospital and Vancouver was not a quick trip by boat. Injured workers and others requiring hospitalization were transported by the Columbia Coast Mission ship, the “John Antle”. The boat was owned and operated by the Anglican Church and carried a doctor, a nurse and a well stocked pharmacy. In 1929 the Columbia Coast Mission built the first hospital which was located at Pender Harbour which at that time had the largest full time resident population on the Sunshine Coast. It was named St. Mary’s Hospital after the parish of St. Mary’s Kerrisdale in Vancouver which donated much of the funds and materials necessary for construction.

The hospital remained in Pender Harbour until 1964 when a new St. Mary’s was built in Sechelt on land donated by the Sechelt Indian Band. It retained its original name through the completion of the new wing in 2014. In 2015 the Vancouver Coastal Health unit changed the name to the Sechelt Hospital. The hospital has a whole array of modern equipment such as CT scanners, ultra sound and mammography scans as examples. An amazing fact is that the major portion of modern machinery was purchased by local bequests and fund raising by the St. Mary’s Hospital Auxiliary which has raised over one million dollars for the hospital. There are six branches of the Auxiliary, each located in a different community but operating as a single Society. When the government agency changed the name of the hospital the auxiliaries changed their name to the Sunshine Coast Hospital Auxiliary to reflect they represented the whole Coast and not just Sechelt.

The Sechelt Hospital is more than an emergency and acute care centre. There are physio-therapy services, outpatient and mental health facilities. In addition, the Hospital provides facilities for visiting specialists. After the 2014 construction St. Mary’s was adjudged to be the first carbon neutral hospital in North America and the “greenest” hospital in Canada.

No need for concern as the Sunshine Coast medical community has you covered.

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