Health minister promises expansion of overwhelmed Surrey Memorial Hospital
Surrey Memorial Hospital will be expanded, Health Minister Adrian Dix announced Wednesday, with more details to come in the next five months.
The expansion will increase capacity for more inpatient and outpatient care, surgeries and clinical programs at the hospital, he said.
Though more information on the hospital’s expansion is a long way away, Dix announced a long list of around 30 immediate and medium-term steps intended to improve the situation at SMH in the meantime.
The hospital has been in the hot seat recently, with doctors sounding the alarm on an overcrowded and understaffed emergency room, saying patients are waiting days in the ER to be admitted and receiving treatment in the hallway.
“We've heard of the impact of dealing with chronic congestion, and very high daily volumes at the hospital, the significant overcapacity situation that exists here and indeed in other hospitals as we know in B.C.,” Dix said.
“Yet through it all, health-care workers here at Surrey Memorial Hospital remain fully dedicated to their patients every day. They show up every day to give care and they are exceptional.”
Dix said actions that are already underway include establishing a new contract with hospitalists, increasing funding for physicians and nurses and opening a care and triage unit in the emergency department.
Nearby community health services will be used to relieve patient demand at the ER, and hours will be expanded at nearby urgent and primary care centres.
He said funding will be given to hire more internal care physicians, clinical associates, associate physicians, nurse practitioners and security offers.
Over the next year and a half, Dix said, renal services will be expanded, a second radiology suite and cardiac catheterization labs will be built, and new MRI and CT machines will be added.
The new catheterization labs are something doctors have been calling for.
“I think this is going to have a huge impact,” said Dr. Kapil Bhagirath, a cardiologist at Surrey Memorial.
“They’ve been needed desperately for a long time, maybe the last 10 years or more. And I think the government did respond nicely with their announcement today,” he said.
Dr. Bhagirath said while doctors do their best, there have been situations where had these labs already been at SMH, “the outcomes would have been better. Unfortunately, there have been some tragedies.”
Obstetricians and gynecologists have also called the situation at Surrey Memorial a crisis, saying staffing shortages were leading to unsafe conditions and adverse outcomes.
Now doctors say they feel heard and are grateful for that.
“Today, I think overall is a win. It’s a win for the community and Fraser Health in general,” said Dr. Claudine Storness-Bliss.
She says doctors are calling for capital investment in infrastructure for maternity care.
“While the announcement is a little bit vague on what that will look like, there is a commitment to improving that infrastructure,” she said.
The minister’s announcement was also vague on the number of new healthcare workers that would be hired and the cost of the vast improvements that have been promised.
“We are here to be a part of the team that implements these solutions. Our job is to make sure that what’s written on paper today and spoken today over the next period of time gets improvemented,” said Fraser Health Board Chair Jim Sinclair.
Operating rooms and the pediatric emergency waiting area will be renovated.
Other areas of expansion will include outpatient home health, clinical social work, physiotherapy and respiratory therapy, Dix said.
“These are significant actions but they are doable,” the health minister said.
The Surrey Board of Trade, which has been calling for investments in staffing and infrastructure, was also happy with today's announcement.
"It took great courage in two weeks of meetings to come to short, medium and long-term implementation plans," said Anita Huberman of the Surrey Board of Trade.
"This is only the beginning of what needs to be done and is a step in the right direction for Surrey's workforce,' she said.
SMH has the largest ER in the Fraser Health region, seeing more than 160,000 visits a year. An open letter last week called for the ER to shut down to new patients if resources continue to be as stretched-thin as they are, creating dangerous conditions for people in need of care.
Frontline workers in the hospital’s family birthing unit said in an earlier open letter that the crisis has led to one newborn death and countless near misses.
Last week, Dix announced an Emergency Operations Centre was activated at the beleaguered hospital, which is an internal alert that authorizes managers to bring on extra staff and use other resources to expand operations to meet soaring patient demand.
Meanwhile, the minister also said he will be meeting with hospitals across the province to see what their needs are and what can be done.
CTVNews.ca Top Stories
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau offered 'unreserved apologies' Wednesday for Parliament's recognition of a man who fought for a Nazi unit during the Second World War and said the Canadian government has reached out to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in the wake of the incident.
Dozens of people faced criminal charges Wednesday after authorities said groups of young people, apparently working together, smashed their way into stores in several areas of Philadelphia, stuffing plastic bags with merchandise and fleeing.
The studio lights are going dark at 'ET Canada.' Corus Entertainment says it has decided to cease production on the long-running Canadian arts and entertainment news magazine after 18 seasons.
Law enforcement agencies have denied allegations that a dispute over jurisdiction delayed the investigation into the murder of Surrey, B.C., Sikh leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar.
Streaming platform Disney+ is updating its subscriber agreement and is adding a no-sharing-passwords policy.
IED believed to be on vehicle in Barrie, Ont. parking lot explodes, sparking evacuations and road closures
Police have locked down and evacuated a section of Barrie, Ont., Wednesday morning in the city's west end amid unconfirmed reports of an explosion.
Hyundai, Kia recall over 600,000 cars in Canada, drivers told to park away from buildings due to fire risk
Hyundai and Kia have issued a recall for several vehicle models and are urging drivers to park away from buildings due to the risk that the issue could start a fire.
An Ontario widower, still grieving his wife's death, is unsure how to pay for a medical bill from their last vacation to Florida, which costs more than US$124,000.
Thanks to immigrants, Canada was likely one of the fastest growing countries in the world between July 1, 2022 and July 1, 2023, according to a new Statistics Canada report.
Southbound traffic into downtown Victoria was severely disrupted Wednesday after a dump rolled onto its side on the Pat Bay Highway.
The B.C. Ministry of Health says a proposed bylaw change by the body that regulates doctors could allow physician assistants to work in provincial emergency rooms.
Victoria police are asking the public to help find a man who wandered away from a Victoria halfway house and is now wanted on a Canada-wide warrant.
Calgary police took one person into custody on Wednesday after a shooting outside the Calgary International Airport.
A Calgary man accused in the 2014 killing of 18-year-old Colton Crowshoe pleaded guilty to manslaughter Wednesday following negotiations between Crown and defence lawyers.
'It's all about colour and brightness and making people smile when they walk by': Calgary man transforms Victorian-style home into a 'Painted Lady'
Bill Hopson spent close to two years transforming his northwest Calgary home into what's known as a painted lady.
Edmonton police released suspect photos Wednesday as officers investigate a hate-motivated mischief case that happened during the local "1MillionMarch4Children" protest last week.
Investigators in Edmonton are searching for four people who robbed a liquor store in the city's southeast last Tuesday and they are looking to the public for help.
As COVID-19 cases in Canada rise and updated vaccines make headlines once again, Alberta’s premier and health minister were non-committal about getting the shot this fall when speaking on Wednesday.
The provincial government is reviewing how workplace safety claims filed by seasonal farm workers are handled following a years-long appeal by four Jamaican migrants who were permanently injured on the job.
An Ontario city councillor is calling herself a 'modern-day slave' after council voted to dock her pay for 30 days following an investigation by the city’s integrity commissioner.
One renowned chef is calling tipping culture 'one of the most ridiculous things in North America.'
A mother and her adult daughter were both found dead Wednesday in an apartment on Montreal's South Shore, according to police.
Quebec's police watchdog has opened an investigation after a man was shot by police after he allegedly pointed his gun at them during an intervention. Media reports say the man who was shot allegedly made threats against Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Quebec Premier Francois Legault.
Some residents in Laval are being urged not to consume the tap water until further notice because 'it poses a health risk.'
A Winnipeg man is facing several charges in connection with a fatal hit-and-run in St. Vital on Tuesday night.
Winnipeggers will have to wait a little longer for Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band to perform in the city for the first time.
‘I can’t breathe’ were the last words an Indigenous inmate ever said after pleading for his life during a struggle with the jail’s tactical team - these details presented in court by Crown prosecutors in their closing arguments in the trial of the jail guard charged in the death.
Saskatoon harm reduction advocate Kayla DeMong says the Saskatoon Tribal Council’s decision to force high-needs drug users from its shelter increases the odds that people will die outdoors this winter.
After roughly six years of debate, Saskatoon city council has finalized its new curbside garbage utility.
Saskatoon police say they’re no longer investigating the death of a man near St. Paul’s Hospital on Tuesday morning.
A Winnipeg man has pleaded guilty to manslaughter and theft of a motor vehicle in connection to the 2021 death of Saskatchewan RCMP Officer Shelby Patton.
SaskEnergy and Regina's fire department say there appears to be no connection between damages to multiple gas meters and a downtown building fire, even though both happened at the same time.
Fans of cheap movie nights can rejoice as a Saskatchewan company prepares to open up a new discount theatre in Regina in a matter of weeks.
Will they or won't they?: Speculation grows over the possibility of a fall election in New Brunswick
It's a question of will they won't they when it comes to calling an election this fall in New Brunswick
Sixteen dogs who were evacuated from Hay River, N.W.T., after wildfires devastated the town, have been taken in by the Nova Scotia SPCA.
Nova Scotia's Progressive Conservative government is joining with Ottawa to fund 222 public housing units as the province battles an ongoing shortage of affordable residences.
Toronto Maple Leafs rookie Easton Cowan couldn’t believe the size of the crowd when the team bus pulled up to the Joe Thornton Community Centre in St. Thomas, Ont.
Warning graphic: 'Multiple trauma': Causes of death of London truck attack victims confirmed in terrorism trial
A Windsor jury heard another agreed statement of facts Wednesday in the ongoing trial of Nathaniel Veltman, 22.
Marie Andree Sanon of London, Ont. won a prize worth $1-million in Lotto 6/49’S Gold Ball Draw on Aug. 23, 2023.
A drug dealer from Manitoulin Island has been declared a dangerous offender after being convicted of more sex crimes against children.
The president of a college in North Bay, Ont., says a recent protest at the school that saw students sleeping in tents was a “publicity stunt” organized by an outside group.
There was no hustle and bustle outside of Nipissing-Timiskaming MP Anthony Rota’s North Bay constituency office on Wednesday.
Ager Hasan, the man who stabbed his ex-girlfriend Melinda Vasilije to death in 2017, will spend 16 years in custody before becoming eligible for parole.
A driver convicted of killing an Ont. teen then fleeing the scene told his daughter he “would have done the exact same thing” even if he had been sober.
A man in his mid 20s is dead after a shooting in Kitchener and police are working to piece together what happened.