Northern Health Working on Addressing Surgical Concerns
Prince George, B.C.- Northern Health is working on a master plan that will address the concerns expressed by surgeons over the state of the surgical suites at the University Hospital of Northern B.C. and lack of surgical time, but it could be years before there is any relief.
Over the past couple of weeks, the Province has announced major funding for new surgical suites in the lower mainland, and dollars to increase the number of surgeries in that part of B.C.
Surgeons in Prince George complain they are not getting the surgery times they are supposed to get, and that the current surgical suites at the University Hospital of Northern B.C. are in dire need of updating.
When the Premier was asked recently why there has been no similar funding for the University Hospital of Northern B.C., she said there is work underway, and when Northern Health’s request becomes more “fulsome” the Province will look at it.
Northern Health Board Chair, Dr. Charles Jago confirms there is work underway, ” We have been working on a master plan for UHNBC for a while now, and we are still in the process of developing that master plan, it’s very comprehensive.” He says the master plan “certainly addresses the needs that the surgeons are identifying as critical needs” and adds “The main thing is, we are actively involved in a major planning exercise.” Dr. Jago, says the surgeons are part of that steering committee “So they know what’s going on. We are at the point of moving that planning forward and engaging the Ministry (of Health) in the final planning of that exercise.”
Northern Health CEO Cathy Ulrich says the development of the master plan is just one of several phases that have to be completed before any changes take place and the next phase would be a concept plan “which really takes some of the work we’ve done in the Master plan and gets it into a more specific form. The next stage after that is called a business plan, then following the business plan we move into a procurement process for the actual project that is approved.”
Dr. Jago says the time frame to navigate and complete all of the phases is “optimistically, five years, it’s unlikely to be much less than that, it could be a couple years more, but we know there are critical needs, we know it’s important that they be addressed and we are pushing forward very vigorously both at this stage of planning and to get the full support of the Ministry to move this forward.”