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Royal Columbian emergency doctors take a stand

Doctors at Royal Columbian Hospital
Doctors at Royal Columbian Hospital's emergency department have taken a stand on patient care.
— image credit: MARIO BARTEL/NEWSLEADER FILE

Fraser Health is supporting the decision by emergency doctors at Royal Columbian Hospital to no longer assess and treat patients in hallways or in other areas of the hospital.
RCH has long had a problem with being able to transfer patients who have been stabilized and are no longer in an emergency situation into a regular hospital bed because there is no room.
That often meant doctors would have to assess and treat patients waiting to be admitted to emergency in the hallway, waiting room or even in the hospital's coffee shop or lobby.
"We have patients who deserve to be in the hospital in a ward and because of a lack of beds, they're kept in the emergency department," Dr. Adam Lund told CTV News on Tuesday. "As a result, there isn't a place for newly arriving emergency patients to go."
So the doctors have decided in those instances, the non-emergency patients will be moved out of the department so those needing assessment and treatment can have it done in proper conditions.
"We are going to insist that the beds be swapped so we can assess newly arriving emergency patients in the emergency beds rather than continuing to enable the system to push the emergency patients into unsafe spaces," Lund said.
The doctors aren't going to get any resistance from the health authority.
"We understand the doctors need to do what is best for patient care," said Fraser Health spokesman Roy Thorpe-Dorward. "We can certainly understand the concerns, and this is a solution to deal with the immediate concerns. It certainly makes sense. This is a temporary solution to a problem that will be ongoing, so we're working on a number of solutions to deal with the Royal Columbian site."
Fraser Health has submitted plans to the health ministry to expand not only Royal Columbian's emergency department but also add 300 beds and reportedly would cost over $1 billion but they have yet to be approved.
"Certainly we have identified RCH as our top priority for expansion," said Thorpe-Dorward.
Health Ministery Mike de Jong told CTV that although the plans are in the works it would be several years before they could be completed.

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