Island Health has seen its deficit increase from $4.8 million to $19.6 million in one year.

Part of that increase is due to staffing shortages and overtime hours and CEO Kathryn MacNeil has called the deficit “concerning,” adding that she’s confident in the VIHA team and the work being done.

Island Health has an annual budget of $2.5 billion dollars and has received “historic investments” from the province since 2017, allowing the health authority to provide more MRI scans, hip, and knee-replacement surgeries, dental surgeries, and colonoscopies.

Island Health is working with its partners to bring a new state-of-the-art hospital to the Cowichan Valley that carries a price tag in the ballpark of $600 million dollars.

The province will pay 60 percent of the money, while the Cowichan Valley Regional Hospital District will pay the remaining 40 percent.

The project is currently in the business plan phase and that will be followed by:

The procurement phase (18 months)
Design and construction phase (3 years)
Transition, stabilization, and operations phase (6-12 months, then ongoing)