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Island Health acquires private surgical centres in View Royal, Nanaimo

Move expected to add 4,600 surgeries, endoscopies annually on the Island
The View Royal Surgical Centre will be acquired by Island Health. (Google Maps)

The province has scooped up two Vancouver Island private surgical centres and brought them into the public portfolio.

The View Royal Surgical Centre (VRSC) in Greater Victoria and Nanaimo’s Seafield Surgical Centre (SSC) have had their leases taken over and equipment purchased by Island Health.

The move will see residents access an additional 4,600 surgeries and endoscopies (2,300 each) annually. Health Minister Adrian Dix said it will increase capacity and reduce wait times for people who need surgery.

“Our government is committed to delivering surgical care for British Columbians when they need it, including recovering from the surgical impacts of the pandemic, and bringing these centres on as Island Health facilities will help all of us achieve this goal,” he said in a Thursday news release.

The facilities currently perform certain low-complexity procedures such as plastic, general, orthopedics, urology, vascular, pediatric dental, endoscopy and cataract surgeries that require a hospital stay of under 24 hours.

“A broader suite of surgical services will be provided through greater use of unused and underutilized capacity at these sites,” the release states.

The province is putting $11.5 million toward acquiring the two centres, which it says will allow for the facilities to scale surgical services to meet local needs. It’s seen as a way of expanding access without putting capital resource investments toward surgical services at Victoria and Nanaimo hospitals.

READ: Loss of two doctors at View Royal clinic will leave 3,000 without a GP

The two facilities have already been serving as extensions to Island Health hospitals, with Seafield providing some public procedures since 2004 and View Royal doing the same since 2017. The partnership has seen 40,000 patients served in the last five years.

The health authority continues to finalize the agreement with Surgical Centres Inc., the owner of both facilities. Its CEO said its mission is to increase surgical access and reduce wait times.

“VRSC is recognized as one of the finest non-hospital surgical centres in Canada,” said Surgical Centres Inc.’s Dr. Mohamed Nanji. “The health-care teams and legacies we’ve created at our Victoria and Nanaimo facilities will serve Island Health for years to come.”

The Ministry of Health has committed to catching up on surgeries delayed by the pandemic, while boosting the number of procedures to above pre-pandemic levels.

“Through this plan, children and families will receive the care they depend on when they need it,” said Mitzi Dean, MLA for Esquimalt-Metchosin.

READ: Housing crunch, province-wide doctor shortage collide in Oak Bay

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