LETTER: Regional area director Aimee Watson queries mammography move

"I am sincerely sorry we could not persuade IH to reconsider the services for diagnostic mammography to remain at Kootenay Lake Hospital."

Re: Mammography at Kootenay Lake hospital or bust

Here is my brief summary of what Interior Health indicated to the West Kootenay Boundary Hospital District regarding maintaining services of diagnostic mammography at Kootenay Lake Hospital.

The question I asked was if the hospital auxiliary or other foundations raised the money to replace the equipment, would Interior Health allow the services to remain in Nelson?

I also asked about what equipment/services are managed by the Cancer Centre as they are a separate body.

Here are my notes:

• The Cancer Centre manages and operates the screening including the mobile unit.

• Interior Health has managed and operated the diagnostic mammography, which is what is moving to Trail.

• Screening program and mobile unit will be upgraded to digital.

• They would not allow another foundation to raise the funds and to purchase and keep diagnostic mammography services at Kootenay Lake Hospital.

• They would prioritize their capital needs over the wishes of the foundation/auxiliary.

• Cost of the diagnostic mammography is about $1 million.

I reported the cost for travel and limited transportation options and they indicated they were working on some options.

I did ask one final question and that was if Interior Health staff would be willing to communicate directly with those concerned, and they said yes. Brigitte McDonough, acute health services administrator can be reached at brigitte_mcdonough@interiorhealth.ca and Thalia Vesterback, director of diagnostic imaging at thalia.vesterback@interiorhealth.ca.

I am sincerely sorry we could not persuade Interior Health to reconsider the services for diagnostic mammography to remain at Kootenay Lake Hospital.

Aimee Watson

Director, Area D

Regional District Central of Kootenay