Surrey Memorial Hospital crisis: doctors from other hospitals urged to help

As groups of healthcare providers write open letters and speak out about the dire situation at various hospitals around the Lower Mainland, CityNews has learned the Fraser Health Authority (FHA) has been regularly sending urgent emails to some doctors across the region asking them to help fill the staffing shortage at Surrey Memorial Hospital (SMH).

The emails ask for doctors to provide their availabilities, but do not list how much they would be compensated.

One email shared with CityNews says, “SMH internal medicine is immediately expanding to address congestion. We have recently added an APP (alternative payment program consult line.)”

It goes on to say, “We are requesting members from Medicine (internal medicine and subspecialist) to provide any availability… to assist with filling shifts.”


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The dates looking to be filled include all of June.

The request isn’t sitting well with some physicians at Royal Columbian Hospital in New Westminster, who feel they’re struggling with their own critical staffing and resource shortage.

Sources tell us there is a lack of basic equipment in the Emergency Room at RCH, including items such as cardiac, blood pressure, and heart rate monitors.

One doctor described the current health care system as “third world,” adding the trauma bay at RCH often has five patients requiring immediate help, but is an area meant for no more than three.

There are reports of another joint letter from physicians at RCH and Eagle Ridge Hospital in Port Moody, outlining a staffing crisis.

Increasingly as doctors across the region sound the alarm, many are blaming what they see as a years-long lack of real action from leaders within local health authorities and the B.C. Ministry of Health.

One doctor CityNews spoke to, who doesn’t want to be identified, says health authorities have known for years that the healthcare system was crumbling, but have chosen not to fix it.

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