Local Surgeons Are “Furious” Over Recent Announcements

Prince George, BC, Canada / CKPG-TV
Local Surgeons Are "Furious" Over Recent Announcements

Local surgeons say they were totally blind-sided by a pair of recent announcements from the Province. The first was $417 million for a new tower at Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops and, two days later, $102 million for improved surgical suites at Vancouver General Hospital.
“We’re furious,” says Dr. Bill Simpson with the Northern Medical Society. “We’ve been talking about the need for new operating rooms and a new surgical suite for over five years. We have the Agreement in Principal from Northern Health Administration. We’ve gone ahead with a planning committee, but nothing has happened.”
Northern Health says it is well-aware of the status of the surgical suite at University Hospital of Northern BC.
“There is a steering at the present with some physicians and some management staff and our capital planning people, who have been working over the past couple of years, looking at what is going to be required in Prince George,” says Cathy Ulrich, the President and CEO of Northern Health. “But, for sure, the surgical area is one of the areas we’ve bee looking at.”
Prince George-Valemount Shirley Bond says she’s aware of the concerns.
“Northern Health has to identify this among their highest priorities,” she says. “Currently there are other priorities on their list ahead of Prince George, including Terrace and Dawson Creek. So, it is a matter of working with the Health Authority, working with the planning group and then putting that case together and being aggressive when that’s taken to government.”
Dr. Simpson says, with the “critical” condition of the current operating rooms, local surgeons aren’t able to access one day a week, and wait lists are climbing from 1,200 ten years ago to 2,500 and “it’s going up every month.”
“We’re being shortchanged again,” says Dr. Simpson. “And I’m not talking about the medical staff, I’m talking about the patients in the North. So Northern Health patients are not provided with the services that they deserve.”
He says there is now a moratorium on recruiting surgeons.
“Maybe we need another rally.”
He is referring to a rally on June 22, 2000, in which thousands of Prince George residents crammed into the then-Multiplex, demanding better health care services for the region. Some argue it lead to the creation of the Northern Medical Program.


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