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Fraser Health details Surrey hospital services in response to SBOT’s damning report

Regional network of sites and services ensures ‘every person presenting to one of our hospitals receives the care they need’
Surrey Memorial Hospital. (Photo: Anna Burns)

Fraser Health has responded to a Surrey Board of Trade report that dismisses the city’s hospital services as “severely insufficient” for both residents and workforce.

The business organization’s 10-page report was revealed Thursday (Feb. 23), and Fraser Health emailed a detailed 780-word response later in the day.

“We are aware of the report produced by the Surrey Board of Trade that states Surrey residents must travel over a bridge to receive care for heart attack, stroke, and trauma, and specialized pediatric services,” the health authority stated. “It is important to note that Surrey Memorial Hospital provides primary, secondary, and specialty services, including cardiac, critical care, and pediatric services.”

Fraser Health says it utilizes a regional network of sites and services “to ensure every person presenting to one of our hospitals receives the care they need.

“All health authorities within B.C. have a similar network of hospitals in which specific designated hospitals are considered higher level of care for various specialized services, including stroke, trauma, cardiac, and speciality pediatric services.”

SBOT’s damning report also claims Surrey doesn’t have enough emergency rooms, and falls well behind Vancouver in per-capita healthcare funding.

• READ: Surrey’s hospital services ‘severely insufficient,’ SBOT report charges.

The remainder of Fraser Health’s response is posted below.

“If a patient requires a higher level of care than what can be provided at the hospital they present to, we work with BC Emergency Health Services to transfer them to a site that can provide the specialized care they need. This means that, depending on their care needs, a patient may be transferred to Surrey Memorial or Abbotsford Regional Hospital, or to another hospital that provides the specialized care. Surrey Memorial, Abbotsford Regional and Royal Columbian hospitals are equipped with helipads to accommodate BCEHS air ambulance transports.

“Surrey Memorial Hospital has a 27-bed unit with designated Cardiac Care Unit and telemetry beds overseen by cardiologists at the site. Nursing care in this unit is provided by high acuity-trained nurses. In addition, cardiac assessment, monitoring, medications, diagnostics and non-surgical interventions can be provided at Surrey Memorial Hospital. The hospital also has the ability to provide cardiac medical imaging. If a patient requires a cardiac catheterization, angioplasty or coronary artery bypass graft, we transfer them to a site that provides surgical intervention, such as Royal Columbian, St. Paul’s or Vancouver General Hospitals. Following cardiac catheterization or angioplasty, patients are transferred back to Surrey Memorial Hospital to receive their post-procedure care and management.

“Fraser Health has local and regional protocols in place to ensure Surrey residents who have a stroke receive timely access to the care they need. Surrey Memorial Hospital can provide stroke treatments to eligible stroke patients such as clot-busting medication. If a stroke patient requires clot removing procedures or neurosurgery as a result of their stroke, we will expedite their transfer to Royal Columbian Hospital. Once they are stable, these patients are returned to Surrey Memorial Hospital to receive their post-procedure care and management. In fact, Surrey Memorial Hospital has the largest inpatient stroke unit in Fraser Health. This unit provides stroke-focused care with trained staff and clinical protocols to optimize recovery from stroke.

“Surrey Memorial Hospital is considered a Level IV Trauma Designation. A Level IV Trauma Centre has ability to provide advanced trauma life support prior to transferring a patient to a higher-level trauma centre if they need that level of care. In Fraser Health, we would transfer a patient needing a higher level of trauma care to Royal Columbian Hospital.

“Surrey Memorial Hospital Children’s Health Centre provides comprehensive Tier 4 pediatric medical and surgical tier of service as well as pediatric ambulatory clinics. In instances when a child requires a higher level of care, we would transfer a patient to BC Children’s Hospital.

“We are committed to providing access to safe and secure health services, and to ensuring continuity of care in the event of a significant emergency event such as a natural disaster. We meet regularly with our local, regional and provincial partners to assess threats to our health system and coordinate our plans to effectively mitigate, prepare for, respond to, and recover from the impacts of emergency events.

“We continuously look at opportunities to enhance the sites and services we provide in our region to ensure they meet the needs of our communities today and in the future. As part of our regular planning work, we review the clinical services we provide in our communities to equip our organization with strategic intelligence and forecast the care needs of our population by geography and by service. This work informs recommendations on how we can better meet the future care needs of our communities, contributes to more detailed strategic planning exercises and provides a basis for decision making in the future.

“We have made investments in Surrey health services over many years. As an example, between 2017 and 2023, we completed $39.6 million in facility projects and purchased $55.3 million in equipment in order to care for our Surrey community. We have also opened two urgent and primary care centres in Surrey, as well as the Surrey Mental Health and Substance Use Urgent Care Response Centre at Surrey Memorial Hospital.”

Tom Zillich

About the Author: Tom Zillich

I cover entertainment, sports and news stories for the Surrey Now-Leader, where I've worked for more than half of my 30-plus years in the newspaper business.
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