Mayor and Council Address Delta Hospital Service Concerns
Mar 11, 2015
At the March 9th Regular Meeting, Mayor Lois E. Jackson and Council unanimously endorsed a report and presentation from Delta CAO George V. Harvie, requesting the Fraser Health Authority immediately address service level shortfalls at Delta Hospital. Specifically, Council is asking Fraser Health to implement both short-term and long-term measures to work towards restoring Delta Hospital to a full service community hospital that will provide the necessary orthopaedic and mental health care services that citizens require within their community.
As it stands now, funding cuts to the hospital have led to an erosion of services, particularly the acute surgical program, which suffered a budget cut of $1.2 million in 2009. Although Delta Hospital is classified as an acute care hospital, it does not have the same surgical capabilities as the eleven other acute care hospitals in the Fraser Health Authority region; Delta’s operating rooms close at 3pm, which means that patients needing emergency surgery after that time must be transferred to another hospital to receive treatment; leading to approximately 300 patient transfers a year.
Geographically, Delta Hospital is not well positioned for patient transfers, due to heavy congestion at key exit routes from Ladner, and the nearest tertiary care facility, Surrey Memorial Hospital, is more than 28 km away.
The repercussions of these funding cuts to Delta’s acute surgical program continue to be felt throughout the hospital and more importantly, by residents, who have experienced bad outcomes due to patient transfers and difficulty trying to access other Fraser Health hospitals, as existing transit infrastructure does not support patients travelling to cities such as New Westminster and Surrey for treatment.
Delta has identified a number of requests in its staff report including the immediate restoration of four surgical acute care beds and a cast clinic, as an interim measure, until Fraser Health provides adequate funding towards the full restoration of the orthopaedic services surgical program and works towards the future establishment of a 20 bed surgical ward within a 150 bed hospital.
“We are losing our community hospital yet again,” said Mayor Lois E. Jackson. “Delta is the only community in British Columbia with a population greater than 60,000 that does not have full surgical care at its local hospital. The gradual erosion of services at Delta hospital is simply not acceptable; Fraser Health Authority needs to step up and address these alarming shortfalls, so we can provide our citizens and businesses with the health care services they need to support quality care without having to travel outside of Delta. As it stands today, several changes need to be made in order to meet our residents’ current and future acute-care needs.”
As a next step towards Delta Council’s demand for the restoration of services at Delta Hospital, Mayor Jackson is requesting a meeting with the Honourable Terry Lake, Minister of Health, and also a meeting with the Fraser Health Authority’s Board of Directors to present Delta’s concerns and request funding for service improvements at Delta Hospital, in order to bring it up to the same service levels as other hospitals in communities of comparable size in British Columbia.
Since 2013, Delta CAO George V. Harvie has been working with the Delta Division of Family Practice, though participation in committee meetings and events, to collaborate on improving community and hospital health care services. In October 2014, the Delta Hospital Medical Staff Association wrote to the Minister of Health regarding an “impending medical crisis” at Delta Hospital and requested the immediate restoration of four surgical acute care beds. Delta staff continues to meet with both the Delta Division of Family Practice and Delta Hospital Medical Staff Association to collaborate on restoring hospital services and planning for a new, more sustainable future at Delta Hospital.
George V. Harvie
Chief Administrative Officer
The Corporation of Delta