Interior Health Authority insists bed process proceeding

Officials insist a surgical review won’t hold up plans for more beds at Vernon Jubilee Hospital.

Officials insist a surgical review won’t hold up plans for more beds at Vernon Jubilee Hospital.

An external study into the Interior Health Authority’s surgical services has not been released although the process to develop VJH’s two top floors for more acute care beds is underway.

“When the recommendations come forward in September or October, it will influence the process in Vernon,” said Martin McMahon, vice-president of planning and strategic services.

The external review conducted by Sullivan Group was initiated this spring to consider demands and future service models and some work is still being completed.

“They are doing a lot of number crunching and data evaluation,” said McMahon.

“They are looking at sites and capital services.”

McMahon doesn’t believe there have been any delays given the scope of work and the large geographical area being considered.

Once the final report is presented, IHA will then make some decisions.

“We will have to cost out the recommendations and priortize,” he said.

In April, the provincial government announced it will develop VJH’s two top floors as a way of addressing overcrowding.

The number of acute care beds has not been determined or has a timeline for the two floors to be completed, although construction could begin in spring 2013.

As part of the Sullivan Group’s review, VJH’s departments of surgery and anesthesia presented four proposals for increasing the surgical program.

Among the suggestions were protected operating room time, additional operating rooms, additional beds and anticipated needs.

“There are immediate and long-term needs of the surgical program at VJH,” states the submission from the doctors.

“In the short-term, immediate attention should be given to the overcapacity problem, protecting surgical beds, creating a day time protected operating room, reducing the backlog of joint replacements and increasing OR time for the urology service for cancer care. In the medium to long-term, the sixth and then the seventh operating rooms should be opened and appropriate surgeons recruited to meet the needs of our growing and aging community.”