02/14/2013 10:04 EST | Updated 04/16/2013 05:12 EDT

Hundreds rally for new hospital in Penticton

About 800 people attended a community town hall in Penticton, B.C., Wednesday night to rally support for a new hospital.

The meeting was organized by several local physicians who are asking the public to help them lobby the province for funding to replace the current hospital, which was built in 1951.

Dr. Sara Broder, one of seven doctors who addressed the crowd, says many of her aging patients have to walk more than one kilometer in the hospital to take all of their tests.

"Our hospital was built in 1951 and we have been doing band-aid solutions for problems,” she said.

“Right now in Penticton Hospital these departments are scattered like seeds in the wind over our campus, and it is a problem."

The doctors say there’s a lack of space for staff and equipment, little privacy for patients and no room to expand in the current building.

Penticton resident Sherry Ann Wilson says it’s the community's top priority.

"[It’s] vastly urgent,” she said. “We really need this."

The doctors are asking the province to fund just over half of the $300-million project. The remainder of the funding is being raised by local hospital districts.

Health Minister Margaret MacDiarmid says she's aware of the doctors' pleas and the province is looking hard at the project to see when and if it can go ahead.