Burnaby Hospital underfunded, old, crowded: report
Published Friday, November 30, 2012 9:16AM PST
Last Updated Friday, November 30, 2012 12:22PM PST
A scathing report on the troubles of the aging Burnaby Hospital released Friday calls for sweeping changes to conditions that pose health hazards to patients.
The findings show the hospital is struggling to meet demand, is under-resourced, and has aging infrastructure that is causing a rampant C. difficile problem.
The report, prompted by complaints from doctors about poor, deteriorating conditions causing infections, was completed by a community consultation committee, led by BC Liberal MLA Harry Bloy.
Bloy said the information brought to the committee was “concerning and at times even alarming” and clearly needs to be addressed.
The report showed that C. difficile infections, caused by aged hospital infrastructure, lack of sinks and hospital over crowding, were two to three times the national average and resulted in 84 patient deaths between 2009 and 2011.
In addition, the report states that the age of the hospital means older structures will need to be completely replaced in order to deal with the C. difficile issue.
The hospital’s emergency room, which is one of the busiest in the province, has access to only one trauma/resuscitation bay. This has lead to a delay in treatments and detrimental outcomes for patients.
The oncology department, which now serves more than 10,000 patients per year, is only funded for 1,800, yet continues to grow by 10 per cent each year.
The report states that Burnaby Hospital has some of the longest wait times of any Fraser Health hospital for surgical procedures.
“The lack of OR time often results in patients being sent home with instructions to keep fasting until a time is available for their ‘emergency’ surgery,” the report states.
“The actual surgical wait times for most surgical procedures at Burnaby Hospital are twice the nationally recommended times,” said Dr. Horton, plastic surgeon at Burnaby Hospital.
The palliative care unit has 11 beds, six of which are shared occupancy. The report states that double occupancy rooms are not appropriate for patients who are dying, adding that a garden would provide a relaxing, healing place for patients at the end stage of their lives.
Compared to other hospitals, Burnaby is also drastically underfunded for the 465,000 people it serves, according to the report.
Surrey Memorial Hospital, which serves only a slightly higher population at 490,000, has double the number of hospital beds and double the annual operating room budget at $18 million.
Two weeks ago the community consultation committee came under fire from the NDP, who claimed the committee was run by Liberal operatives as part of a strategy to use the hospital for political gain.
NDP MLA for Burnaby-Edmonds Raj Chouhan said two sets of leaked emails outlined how the BC Liberals planned to use the issue of healthcare to keep the two Liberal seats in Burnaby and take out NDP MLA Kathy Corrigan in her Burnaby-Deer Lake riding.