MLA Eric Foster insists he’s pushing the government to address over-crowding at Vernon Jubilee Hospital.
Foster says he was concerned to hear about 192 patients admitted to the hospital Feb. 3 and 11 elective surgeries cancelled. There are 148 funded beds at VJH.
“I’ve been lobbying hard to open more beds and I will keep pushing,” he said.
“I’m not hearing a lot (about more funding) but there’s not an argument that when situations like this occur, there is a need for more beds.”
As part of the new patient care tower, there are two shelled-in floors for potential use as acute care beds in the future.
“It’s an issue of operating funds and needing more staff,” said Foster.
Besides more acute care beds, Foster says there needs to be a focus on residential care beds in the community so space is freed up at the hospital.
“We did a call for 46 more residential care beds,” he said.
“On any given day, there would be 16 to 18 people in acute care beds that could be in residential beds if there were residential care beds for them.”
Besides the pressure he is applying on the Ministry of Health, Foster says he is hearing from residents calling for additional beds.
“The minister gets lots of letters now. There is lots of lobbying being done by the public,” he said.
Lumby resident Loretta Herbus is familiar with congestion at VJH.
In mid-January, her 86-year-old mother was admitted because of a serious heart condition.
“She was in the emergency room for more than a week as there were no beds available,” said Herbus.
“She was moved six times and we found the care inadequate. On several occasions, she was told by nursing staff that she could get out and go home as the bed was needed for people who were critically ill.”
Herbus’ mom was eventually discharged, but was back in VJH within days because of a collapse.
“Shorter shifts, more staff, more equipment and more room would certainly go a long way to alleviating the situation in the ER,” said Herbus.