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MLA 'shocked' at conditions in Abbotsford hospital

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An Abbotsford MLA is comparing conditions inside Abbotsford Regional Hospital to something you might find in a “third world country.”

“I was absolutely shocked at what I saw,” said Bruce Banman of the Conservative Party of B.C.

He said he was at the hospital because his daughter “had a life-threatening medical condition.”

He said while she is doing better, he is concerned by what he saw at the health-care facility.

“There were patients, literally lined up the hallway. And not one or two, this was the entire hallway had patients lined up in hospital beds,” he explained.

Banman said in one bathroom—that had to be used by a number of patients—there was a soiled adult diaper and feces on the floor.

“The most disturbing thing was even after it was reported, it took them way longer than it should to be able to clean this up,” he said.

Banman isn’t the only one complaining about unsanitary conditions at the Abbotsford facility.

A hospital visitor sent four photos to CTV News that she said show feces on the floor and stained bedding. She said for two days, no one would clean it up or provide new sheets. She said action was only taken after repeated complaints.

CTV News requested an interview with Fraser Health about Banman’s concerns, but they declined.

In an emailed statement, Brendan Abbott, executive director of Abbotsford Regional Hospital and Cancer Centre, said, “Our housekeeping team is adequately staffed, regularly cleans all patient areas within the hospital and will follow up promptly if a patient or their family indicates additional cleaning is required.”

CTV News also asked the health minister about the MLA’s complaints.

“I’m told there is adequate staffing for cleaning at Abbotsford General Hospital and that we’ve made significant improvements,” said Adrian Dix.

“Of course, when there are concerns raised, we respond to those concerns and we will in this case,” he said.

According to Fraser Health, the Abbotsford hospital’s emergency department has seen a significant increase in patients seeking medical attention.

There were 63,857 visits between January and November of 2022.

That number rose by 815 to 64,672 during the same period this year.

“To support these increased patient volumes, at times, we need to place some patients in an overflow space to optimize care delivery to all patients,” Abbott said in the email.

“This decision is made thoughtfully and once our staff have carefully triaged patients, taking into account their specific care needs. Generally speaking, we only place a patient in an overflow space when they are more mobile and expected to have a shorter length of stay in the hospital,” the statement reads.

Banman said hospital employees told him short-staffing and burnout were ongoing issues, but they were afraid to speak up for fear of retribution.

“Let’s take unvaccinated workers that are sitting on the sidelines that are educated. We have an absolute staff crisis going on and we need every person we can back on the front lines,” he said.

Banman said B.C.’s health-care system is broken, and the time to fix it is now. 

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