Doctors at Surrey, B.C., hospital raise alarm over staffing and patient-care crisis

VANCOUVER — A series of letters from doctors raising alarm about the management of patient care at a Metro Vancouver hospital has placed British Columbia’s largest health authority under scrutiny.

The latest open letter about Surrey Memorial Hospital comes from its Medical Staff Association and says management at Fraser Health and the B.C. Health Ministry have not provided “any tangible support” for overstretched emergency-room doctors.

The association’s letter says the lack of doctors in other departments is forcing ER doctors to go “well outside their scope of practice” in providing ongoing care to admitted patients, in addition to their own emergency duties.

The letter criticizes Fraser Health for a lack of communication to the public about a “dire state of affairs” at the hospital in which patients have to wait for hours or even days to receive care, allowing the health authority to “hide” from its “culpability for the situation.”

Surrey Memorial’s emergency doctors originally published their own complaint letter on May 15, followed two weeks later by a letter from 36 women’s health physicians outlining a “critical scarcity of resources” that contributed to the death of a newborn baby.

On Wednesday, the Surrey Hospital Foundation held a summit meeting of 60 stakeholders in an attempt to find solutions to the staffing and patient-care crisis, with the group saying it will produce a report outlining “priority solutions and recommended actions” at an unannounced date. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 31, 2023.

The Canadian Press

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