Campbell River Hospital was filled to overflowing this week and concern is mounting that the new hospital is not going to solve the acute crowding problem.
The Mirror received an alert Thursday from a prominent local doctor that “the hospital was on diversion (Wednesday) as there were no beds and it was overflowing in fact.”
The physician added: “The number of people admitted now is roughly the number of beds Vancouver Island Health Authority (VIHA) is planning in the new hospital that we hope will last us for many years. Good planning?”
The new 95-bed Campbell River Hospital will replace the existing acute care facility which was built in 1956. Construction is expected to begin in 2013 and be completed in 2017.
The critical issue of overcrowding was aired at the Nov. 8 meeting of the Comox Strathcona Regional Hospital Board. Citizens for Quality Health Care member Lois Jarvis, one of six stakeholders to attend, says: “We were told that there are up to 98 patients daily in the hospital.
“Director Brenda Leigh brought up the concern over the new hospital having only 95 beds. VIHA CEO Howard Waldner said that 40 alternate level care (ALC) beds promised to Campbell River will be built prior to the new hospital being opened and that will alleviate the pressure on the acute care beds. He said that six of those 40 beds have already been allocated in the community.”
Jarvis says the notion that 40 new ALC beds somewhere else in the community will solve all the problems is hard to believe. “Forty beds are not going to be near enough.” She says Waldner also told the meeting that 15 to 20 per cent of the patients in the existing hospital don’t belong there and VIHA “is looking at the situation.”
“The situation with seniors taking up acute care beds is beyond critical. It is putting a terrible strain on the hospital,” Jarvis says. “There is a lot of concern that the hospital is strained to the breaking point and that a new hospital is not going to solve the problem.”
Calls to VIHA and to Campbell River Hospital Site Director Lois Tirebuck were not answered.