Re: Delta Hospital Services
We are writing jointly as representatives of our respective communities to urge you to take immediate steps to address service level shortfalls at Delta Hospital.
Since the 2002 closure of the acute surgical program and critical care unit, our communities have fought, with considerable success, to have full services restored at the hospital. Nevertheless, with years of underfunding and budget-cuts, services levels have deteriorated to such an extent that Delta Hospital medical staff were prompted to voice their concerns to you last October. Since that time, the following facts have become apparent:
- 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.
- Serving 6.25% of the Fraser Health Authority population, Delta Hospital’s surgical program is underfunded, receiving only 1.8% of FHA’s surgical budget. For example, the annual surgical budgets for Eagle Ridge and Ridge Meadows Hospitals are $15 million and $13.1 million respectively. The annual surgical budget for Delta Hospital is a mere $5.1 million.
Delta Hospital serves a growing community that is also ageing. In the next 20 years, the number of 60+ patients will double, and residential, commercial and industrial developments in both Delta and Tsawwassen First Nation (as well as the tunnel replacement), will result in a significant net inflow of people to the area. These people will need timely access to full service hospital facilities. In addition, Delta is a major industrial and transportation centre through which a wide variety and significant volume of hazardous materials travels every day. In terms of emergency response and community self-sufficiency, it is critical that Delta and Tsawwassen First Nation be able to respond effectively in the face of an industrial accident or natural disaster. Central to the response effort is a hospital with 24/7 emergency surgical capability.
We recognize that the restoration of services at Delta Hospital to pre-2002 levels cannot be achieved overnight; however, it is critical that the Ministry of Health work with Fraser Health Authority to start the process of change.
We therefore support the Delta Hospital Medical Staff Association’s request for four surgical acute care beds and a cast clinic, as an immediate but interim solution to the current situation at Delta Hospital, through increased funding in the 2015-16 operating budget.
In addition, we ask that the Minister of Health work with FHA, in consultation with the Delta Division of Family Practice and the Delta Hospital Medical Staff Association on the development of a long-term community-based health care plan for Delta Hospital to guide future development and funding towards the establishment of a 20 bed surgical ward within a 150 bed hospital, including in-patient mental health services and comprehensive orthopaedic services, and that this plan be developed within a 2-3 year timeframe.
A copy of a recent report to Delta Council is enclosed for your information. We would appreciate an opportunity to meet with you to discuss these issues. The communities of Delta and Tsawwassen First Nation deserve to have the same level of hospital services as other comparable communities throughout British Columbia.
Mayor Lois E. Jackson Chief Bryce Williams
The Corporation of Delta Tsawwassen First Nation