Pressures remain despite new tower

Vernon Jubilee Hospital’s new tower may be open, but concerns about overcrowding continue.

Vernon Jubilee Hospital’s new tower may be open, but concerns about overcrowding continue.

Just two days after the Polson tower was unveiled Sept. 25, doctors say there were 155  patients although VJH is funded for 148 acute care beds.

“The hospital is still way over census, and operating rooms are still being cancelled,” said Dr. Ed Hardy, medical staff president and an oncologist.

“This is following on the heels of a summer of OR slowdowns pending the new move, so all of the surgeons have a backlog already. I am expecting a tidal wave of new cancer consults when the surgeons can get their patients in.”

On Monday, the Interior Health Authority stated the census was 141 in the afternoon while it was 153 in the evening, according to doctors.

While some politicians suggested the new tower  would alleviate pressure at VJH, Dr. Chris Cunningham insists that isn’t the case.

“There are still patients housed in makeshift wards like MASH units, crowded into small rooms and alcoves,” said Cunningham, who has been part of a group lobbying for two floors in the tower to be completed for beds.

“This is indecent to continue to care for patients in this way.”

Cunningham says such conditions don’t allow for privacy and can lead to higher infection rates.

“The new tower is an excellent facility providing modern facilities and services to assess patients in ER, operate on, or deliver a baby,” he said.

“But the issue of overcrowding and patient care on wards continues to remain the same and will so until those top two floors are provided for acute care bed wards,” he said.

Interior Health Authority officials believe the tower has had a positive influence on congestion.

“Occupancy has not been as high as it has been,” said Allan Sinclair, vice-president of acute services.

“The pressure is a lot less. Census has not been full yet.”

Sinclair expects a more accurate indication of how the tower impacts overcrowding in two weeks when all operating rooms are running and there is a better sense of how the building functions.

“There are all kinds of annoyances just like if you move into a new house. But we are pleased with  what we’ve got,” he said.

Health Minister Michael de Jong has indicated that there may be no decision on additional acute care beds at VJH until the end of the year.

“I’m not letting up on the lobbying,” said Vernon-Monashee MLA Eric Foster, adding he’s not surprised it’s taking time for the ministry to determine if the project will proceed.

“There are huge financial challenges and that’s what we’re working out. My priority is the beds but I had people in my office who want group homes (for the developmentally challenged). There isn’t a bottomless pit of money.”


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Vernon museum praises local group for spearheading RCMP Appreciation Day

Feb. 1 has been officially proclaimed Royal Canadian Mounted Police Appreciation Day

North Okanagan Knights pull out overtime victory over Sicamous

Knights goalie Sean Kanervisto gets first win after being named a top KIJHL rookie

Tickets available for Vernon’s seventh-annual Okanagan Military Tattoo

The city’s largest indoor event will take place July 25-26, 2020

VIDEO: Dragon parade marks Lunar New Year at Vernon school

Students at Beairsto Elementary performed traditional dragon dance on Friday

Flooding water at West Kelowna Tim Hortons closes lane on Highway 97

This story has been updated with more accurate information. Water flooding from… Continue reading

Vernon Kokanee swimmers sensational in Kelowna

VKSC swimmers set four new club records, qualify for 2020 Speedo Western Championships

‘Presumptive case’ of coronavirus in Canada confirmed by Ontario doctors

Man in his 50s felt ill on his return to Canada from Wuhan, China

Help sought in developing family practices in South Okanagan and Similkameen

An estimated 15,000 people in region do not have a family doctor

People knowingly take fentanyl so make policy changes to reduce harm: B.C. study

Dr. Jane Buxton, an epidemiologist at the centre, says drug users need more resources,

‘My heart is going to bleed’: Bodies brought back to Canada following Iran plane crash

Remains of Sahar Haghjoo, 37, and her eight-year-old daughter, Elsa Jadidi, were identified last weekend

Animal lovers cautioned against feeding urban deer – even if they beg at the window

Even if the deer press their little faces against your kitchen window… Continue reading

Highway 1 closed near Golden for high avalanche danger

DriveBC does not give an estimation for reopening

Second earthquake in two days strikes near Agassiz

A 2.6-magnitude recorded Saturday morning

Most Read