Surrey Hospitals Foundation releases report addressing city’s health care crisis

The state of hospitals in the Fraser Health region has been the subject of concern in recent months, with most of the attention laid firmly on Surrey Memorial Hospital.

Now, the Surrey Hospitals Foundation (SHF) is releasing a report outlining its recommendations on how to improve health care in the city, which it says is in “crisis.”

Based on conversations at a recent health summit it held at Surrey City Hall, the report outlines a set of recommendations “that were developed through consensus by the more than 60 summit participants,” the SHF says.

Acknowledging the provincial government’s new programs announced the week after the summit in May, SHF Board Chair Harp Dhillon says that “while the government plan will help, we believe the recommendations developed collaboratively with community and health care leaders on May 30 provide an even more robust framework for long-term, sustainable solutions.”

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First and foremost, the report recommends that the B.C. Ministry of Health create a “multi-disciplined, locally-led task force” to study the health care “ecosystem” south of the Fraser River, develop a long-term strategic plan, and provide recommendations and a budget to implement said plan.

“It will be important that this task force involve appropriate representation from the community,” said Jane Adams, president and CEO of the SHF. “We’re hopeful that with the right voices at the table, we can find solutions.”

Speaking to CityNews, Dhillon says there needs to be evidence-based planning around population needs.

“Surrey and south of the Fraser is very unique and one-size-fits-all solutions are not working,” he said.

“Specific attention needs to be paid to what Surrey needs, what south of the Fraser needs, and how to balance that over the longer term.”

The report also pushes for the construction of a second tower at Surrey Memorial Hospital.

“[The] need is definitely there, and if we are trying to fit in all those things that we are looking for at the hospital to improve, we definitely need more infrastructure. So, a second tower in Surrey will definitely be welcomed,” Dhillon continued.

Other recommendations include addressing the hospitalist shortage “immediately,” funding an acute and community health services plan for the city, and improving training, education, and retention for doctors, nurses, and allied health personnel.

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