On the eve of a health care rally set to take place at Surrey’s Civic Plaza, Health Minister Adrian Dix gave a status report on the “30 promised health care actions” he announced three months earlier.
In June, Dix announced that the province had identified short-term, long-term and medium-term strategies to improve care at – and even expand – Surrey’s bustling and oft-embattled hospital.
“Since our renewed commitment in June, we’ve already made significant progress and are continuing the work to further support patients and the people delivering care at the hospital,” Dix said Friday (Sept. 8) at Surrey Memorial Hospital.
“We’re continuing to work with hospital staff and medical staff to ensure that the solutions we are implementing now will strengthen our public health-care system in Surrey and throughout the province.”
Dix said some of the short term strategies already implemented are:
• The Surrey Urgent and Primary Care Care has almost doubled its capacity since it expanded its hours and added physician availability
• Fraser Health has selected sites for two cardiac catheterization labs, a second interventional radiology suite, and expanded renal services and planning is underway
• Since June 2023, 216 staff positions at Surrey Memorial Hospital have been filled. This includes 133 registered nurses, 20 licence practical nurses, 41 allied health professionals, 15 care aides and seven unit clerks. An additional 55 physicians and 39 internationally educated nurses, and two nurse practitioners have also been hired
• A clinical counsellor has been hired to support the mental health and well-being of staff
Dix noted there was no connection between the time of Friday’s press conference and Saturday’s health care rally. He said his press conference was simply a three-month progress report and that there would be another in three months’ time.
Dix said he is aware of the rally but does not plan to attend, adding his message to frustrated health care workers is that the province hears them and is taking action based on their recommendations.
Saturday’s rally, “Healthcare Now: Bridging the Equality Gap South of the Fraser,” is organized by BC Health Care Matters (BCHCM). Dr Randeep Gill, along with BCHCM President Camille Currie, will be the keynote speaker. It will go from 2- 5 p.m. on Saturday (Sept 9) at Surrey’s Civic Plaza (3450 104 Ave.) next to City Hall.