New tower didn’t stop all E-R issues

Vancouver, BC, Canada / News Talk 980 CKNW | Vancouver's News. Vancouver's Talk
New tower didn't stop all E-R issues

Surrey Memorial nurses say despite the hospital upgrades, the emergency ward is still in crisis.
BC Nurses Union Steward Gail Conlin says the new emergency department is facing issues of overcrowding, long wait times, and hallway medicine.

“I do not believe as a nurse myself opening the critical care tower with the critical care units wouldn’t necessarily offload or decant the emergency.”

Conlin says staff is at their wits end.

“They’re stressed, workload is excessive, and it’s been absolutely crazy.”

Earlier this week a new eight storey critical care tower with 150 new beds was officially opened at the Surrey Hospital.

Surrey Memorial Hospital spokesperson Lakh Bagri admits pressure on the E-R has been tough lately.

“Over the past I’d say week and a half, we have been experiencing those surges in volumes, at the same time we were able to open 150 new beds in the critical care tower.”

Bagri says the Fraser Health Authority will review two concerning cases of patient care in the emergency department this week.
The nurses union says in one case, a man suffered a seizure and a code blue was called after he waited three hours to see a doctor.
In another case, a patient with a life threatening brain bleed was not given a trauma bed because there wasn’t one available.


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  1. If I’m mistaken I apologize. Aren’t nurses working a four day shift of ten or twelve hour days because they voted for that? In a very stressful job wouldn’t all of those hours contribute to ever more stress? Wouldn’t eight hour days be more user friendly, especially in this profession?

    • If the nurses started working 5 x 8 there would be a need to hire another 1/3 more nurses to cover the shifts and scheduling would be a nightmare. 2-12 hour days followed by 2-12 hour nights with four days off (48 hours on shift per block) is how Nurses, Fire, and Ambulance have been scheduled for over 50 years. And there is still all of the overtime due to positions not filled and WCB

      And for the people who say “why should they have a four day week end?”
      18 hours off the first day 2 x 24 hours and then 6 hours off on your last day off so it works out to 48 every 96 hours, If you work 9-5 Mon to Fri you get 8/16,8/16,8/16,8/16,8/64 per week.

  2. Yes, the new critical care tower is now open with a capacity of an extra 150 beds. However, we don’t have enough staff yet to open up to full capacity and therefore the plan is to hire more staff so we can have all beds open by September 2014. So you’re right, despite having this tower open there hasn’t been an offset of patients seen by the emergency department and they’re still feeling the pinch. Hopefully there will be some improvement come he fall. Also, Surrey has seen an enormous increase in population, just drive down King George Hwy and you’ll see high rise after high rise with each building holding at least 500 occupants if not more. And that’s not all, there are many more high rise buildings that are planned to be built in the next 10 years.