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Help coming to ease strain at Surrey Memorial Hospital, Dix announces

Health minister says province has heard health care workers’ calls for more resources
B.C’s Health Minister Adrian Dix, right, and Fraser Health CEO Dr. Victoria Lee at a health care announcement at Surrey Memorial Hospital in Surrey on Wednesday. (Photo: Anna Burns)

Some much-needed help is coming to Surrey Memorial Hospital, Health Minister Adrian Dix announced Wednesday (June 7).

During a press conference at SMH, Dix noted that after meeting with Fraser Health and heath-care workers in Surrey, the province has identified short-term, long-term and medium-term strategies to improve care at and even expand Surrey’s bustling and oft-embattled hospital.

“I’m grateful for the many health-care workers at Surrey Memorial Hospital who have raised their concerns to me, including the hard-working people who have taken time out of their day over the past week to speak with me,” said Dix.

“Along with Fraser Health, we are all working together on real, meaningful solutions to improve hospital flow and ensure health-care workers are fully supported in providing their patients with the best possible care. This includes a plan to expand the hospital to better meet the need of this growing community.”

He said planning work is underway to expand SMH by improving and increasing capacity for more inpatient and outpatient care, surgeries and clinical programs, in addition to the new Surrey hospital being built in Cloverdale.

In a release sent Wednesday afternoon, the health ministry said more details about an expansion at SMH will be identified through the fall 2023 annual capital planning process, which will “build upon a refreshed clinical service plan” for the hospital and region.

In the meantime, Dix said immediate actions are already being taken including, “working with hospitalists to stabilize their physician workforce to ensure continued access to inpatient medical services will also working to establish a new contract.”

A new triage unit in the emergency department will also help “relieve patient demand and emergence of the emergency department. including additional resources to expand hours at the nearby urgent and primary care centres” Dix said.

Other actions include:

• Improving and increasing capacity for orientation and adaptation care, surgeries and clinical care

• Introducing an interdisciplinary team for child and youth mental health for emergency care and increased staffing for the pediatric emergency department

• Building out internal medicine teaching units to support recruitment

• Increasing capacity to discharge patients

• Funding for clinical associates, associate physicians, and nurse practitioners

• A refreshed clinical service plan for the Surrey-Delta region focusing on renal services within 18 months

• Adding a second radiology suite in SMH

• Adding two cardiology catheterization labs at SMH

• Adding net new MRI/CT machines with cardiac capabilities and access to diagnostic services

• Completing renovations of operation rooms

• Expanding outpatient, home health, clinical social work, physiotherapy, and respiratory services

Dix, with Fraser Health CEO Victoria Lee by his side, noted that the challenges are not unique to Surrey Memorial but are faced across the region.

“(We) will ensure that the solutions that are here are able to be implemented elsewhere, as well.”

Surrey’s business community was quick to laud Dix’s announcement.

“Since our Surrey Health Care policy paper was released in early March, there have been vocal calls for investments in staffing and infrastructure to address decades of insufficient health care investments in what will be B.C.’s largest city,” Anita Huberman, President & CEO, Surrey Board of Trade stated in a release Wednesday.

“It took great courage in two weeks of meetings to come to short-, medium- and long-term implementation plans. This is only the beginning of what needs to be done and is a step in the right direction for Surrey’s workforce.”

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Anna Burns

About the Author: Anna Burns

I started with Black Press Media in the fall of 2022 as a multimedia journalist after finishing my practicum at the Surrey Now-Leader.
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