In the “near future,” there will need to be “a major capital investment in the University Hospital of Northern BC.” That was one of the messages from Northern Health Chief Operating Officer to Mayor and Council last night. Michael McMillan says there is a “significant” shortage of residential care beds as well as acute care beds in the hospital.
University Hospital can accommodate between 204 and 210 patients at any given time, but a year ago, it was having to find places for 260 patients. Northern Health saw a 25% increase in patient numbers in two years, and it has the fastest growing aging population in the entire province. Measures taken at that time, such as opening the third floor of the Gateway Centre and the creation of Car 67, have helped to alleviate some of the pressures.
He and Northern Health CEO Kathy Ulrich will be meeting with the provincial government next month with the message.