Health centre renamed to hospital
The facility formerly known as the Nicola Valley Health Centre now has a name that reflects its functions.
After about a year of pondering, the Ministry of Health and Interior Health announced the decision to change the name to the Nicola Valley Hospital and Health Centre on Friday.
Merritt Mayor Susan Roline received unanimous support from city council on Jan. 10, 2012, for the recommended change.
At the time, she said people assumed Merritt didn’t have a hospital and one of the dangers was the difficulty the former name caused when trying to attract workers.
“I think it gives our residents and potential residents confidence that we do have a full-service, functioning hospital here,” she said after the announcement. “There aren’t too many things that you can’t get done here on a regular basis, so I think just having that word ‘hospital’ changes people’s view of it, which I think will help us greatly.”
She said her and several others were motivated to call for the change after hearing continual complaints from employers who were having challenges attracting families because of the perception that Merritt didn’t have a hospital.
“They didn’t want to come here because they thought that it was basically just an emergency centre,” she said. “This will hopefully dispel some of that [perception].”
Merritt’s Economic Development Manager James Umpherson said the change is an improvement.
“Rebranding the Health Centre to a hospital will improve the perception of the community,” he said. “It will enhance the quality of life and image of Merritt to attract business, families and labour.”
The name change was also supported by the Thompson Regional Hospital District.
The change reflects the desire of the ministry to reflect the purpose of the building in its name, something that its former title didn’t outright state.
“Nicola Valley Hospital and Health Centre provides exceptional care to patients every day,” Health Minister Margaret MacDiarmid said in a release. “We heard that the community felt the name should reflect the nature of health care services available at the site and we listened. I am very pleased to announce that the new name is now official.”
The hospital was originally called the Nicola Valley General Hospital when it was built in 1963.
The name changed to the Nicola Valley Health Centre because of the various health-related programs consolidated in the building.
The facility offers health care services such as eight acute inpatient beds; a 24/7 emergency room; rehabilitation and physiotherapy; public health support; mental health support; home and community care nursing; home support, and lab and X-ray.
The hospital and health centre is designated as a Level 1 Community Hospital within Interior Health.
Interior Health aims to update the signs and listings on websites and in phone books in the next several months. Of the 33 health facilities in the IHA region, 22 now have “hospital” in their names.