WEST KELOWNA (NEWS1130) – You could soon have another option to avoid surgery waitlists at public hospitals, but not even the provincial government knows how to respond to a First Nations plan to build a 100 bed private facility.

The Westbank First Nation near Kelowna wants to build what it calls a ‘Health Centre’ – that wouldn’t have an Emergency Room or Psychiatric Ward but would cover all major procedures, including cosmetic.  The band argues self-governance gives it the right to build the facility without political interference.
But where would the doctors come from? How are liabilities covered? And how will provincial and federal health policies apply? Those are questions not even the BC Health Ministry can answer just yet.

In an e-mail to News1130, the Ministry says it can’t comment until it looks at the legalities of the centre, and how self-governance fits in to Canada’s health act.

Construction of the $120-million facility is set to begin later this year, and could create up to 300 jobs. The Westbank First Nation says it will operate outside Canada’s Medicare system, with patients paying directly for a range of services.