High emergency room demand may be ‘new normal’, B.C. health minister warns

Emergency Rooms. Representational image by Olga Quryanova at unsplash (2)

#HighEmergencyRoomDemand; #BCHealth

SURREY, B.C. – British Columbia’s emergency rooms are reportedly experiencing unusually high levels of patient demand which may be a “new normal” for hospitals, said Adrian Dix, B.C. health minister.

The situation is especially concerning, added Dix, taking into consideration that the province is about to enter the respiratory illness season amidst the anticipated insufficiency of the summer medical staff.

Speaking at Surrey Memorial Hospital Friday, Dix said there are about 9,700 patients in emergency care across B.C., about 700 more than normal for this time of year.

Dix added that more surgery, more primary care visits, more diagnostic procedures than ever before and said,

“We have more people in hospitals than ever before, and we have more people working in the system than ever before. That demand is the new normal, and we have to work to address it.”

In a written statement, Fraser Health said Dix’s update included progress on several fronts on combating overcrowding, including filling more than 216 staff positions at Surrey Memorial since June.

Doctors whom Dix met Friday recognized the progress but wanted more – something he said the NDP government is committed to.

Describing the situation as a result of “a generation” of neglect for Fraser Health as the population of Surrey boomed, Dix criticized the Liberal governments from 2001 to 2017 for a number of missteps.

“I think it’s fair to say that Surrey, more than any other community in British Columbia, suffered most from the neglect of the health care system from 2001 to 2017,” Dix said. “These (changes) won’t instantly make things better, but they have a positive effect.”