Surrey/White Rock losing 45 acute care hospital beds, NDP say

More than half of acute care beds in Fraser Health being chopped are from Surrey Memorial and Peace Arch hospitals

The Now has learned that more than half of the acute care beds being chopped are from Surrey.

SURREY — Surrey and White Rock’s hospitals are losing 45 of the 85 acute care beds the Fraser Health Authority is closing as part of a plan to expand community and home-based programs.

Those figures are according to B.C.’s Official Opposition.

The NDP says Surrey Memorial Hospital will lose 35 beds, but a spokeswoman for Fraser Health Authority says otherwise.

“I can confirm that Surrey Memorial will reduce their bed numbers by eight,” said Tasleem Juma, senior spokeswoman for the FHA. “They have not been reduced at this point.”

Sue Hammell, NDP MLA for Surrey-Green Timbers, said the NDP has been hammering the government in the House for two days using the 35 figure and that the minister of health has not contradicted that number.

“It’s in the House,” she said.

She added the NDP’s number came from sources within the FHA.

Last month the Now reported that 80 beds would be lost. It’s now 85, with 35 of them in Surrey Memorial Hospital, 10 from Peace Arch Hospital, 12 from Langley, 11 from Burnaby and seven from Ridge Meadows.

Hammell said it’s “outrageous” these hospital bed cuts are happening in Surrey, which she says already has the lowest number of acute care beds per capita in the province and, “I would submit, all of Canada.”

“If we were over-supplied you’d get it. What they’re about to do is cut it even further,” she said.

She charged B.C.’s Liberal government with taking pride in constructing medical buildings but taking “absolutely no responsibility for the quality of healthcare inside.”

Juma told the Now last month that the reduction in acute care beds will be “offset” by the opening of more than 400 residential beds in the Fraser Valley, 95 of which will be at the Elim Village retirement home in Fleetwood and 92 at the Evergreen Baptist facility in White Rock. Juma also said the FHA will open 10 new hospice beds in the Fraser Valley and expand its home support programs.

Hammell called that news “crazy” and “disrespectful at a very deep level,” noting SMH is already 89 patients over capacity.

tom.zytaruk@thenownewspaper.com

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